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Swedish Liberal party to back Social Democrat Lofven as PM

Swedish Liberal party to back Social Democrat Lofven as PM
Swedish Prime Minister and Social Democratic Party leader Stefan Lofven (C) speaks during a news conference after a meeting with the Speaker of Parliament in Stockholm, Sweden, September 27, 2018. TT News Agency/Pontus Lundahl via REUTERS   -   Copyright  TT News Agency(Reuters)
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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Sweden’s centre-right Liberal party voted on Sunday to back a deal that could give Social Democrat leader Stefan Lofven a second term in office after months of deadlock since the tied election.

The Centre Party and the Greens have also agreed to back Lofven’s future budget bills in a four-party deal that would force the centre-left leader to reverse course and deliver tax cuts and labour market reform if he becomes prime minister.

The Liberals’ executive committee voted 62-30 in favour of the deal, Swedish newswire TT reported.

The parties will still be short of a majority in the 349-seat parliament and will need support from the Left Party, which backed Lofven’s Social Democrat and Green coalition from 2014-18, to pass bills.

September’s election delivered a hung parliament and the two major blocs have been at loggerheads over how to form a government without the support of the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, a party with roots in the white-supremacist fringe and who hold the balance of power.

The speaker will nominate a candidate for the premiership on Monday and parliament will hold a vote on Jan. 16.

Lawmakers have already voted twice against Lofven and once against his rival Ulf Kristersson, the leader of the four-party Alliance that includes the Centre and Liberal parties.

(Reporting by Stockholm Newsroom; Editing by David Goodman)

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