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BREAKING NEWS

Swedish Left Party demands assurances to back Lofven as PM

Swedish Left Party demands assurances to back Lofven as PM
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven attends a news conference after his meeting with the Speaker of the Parliament Andreas Norlen in Stockholm, Sweden January 14, 2019. TT News Agency TT News Agency/Anders Wiklund via REUTERS -
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TT NEWS AGENCY(Reuters)
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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden's Left Party said on Monday it wanted assurances it will not be politically ostracized if it is to support Social Democrat leader Stefan Lofven as prime minister, plunging the process of forming government into renewed uncertainty.

Lofven, who was prime minister from 2014-18 in a minority coalition with the Greens, agreed a deal last week with the Liberal and Centre parties for their support as prime minister, but the four parties still need support from the Left party.

"Our goal is that Stefan Lofven becomes prime minister, but we are not yet at a point where we can vote for him," Left leader Jonas Sjostedt told reporters.

The deal with the Centre and Liberal party - the closest a fragmented parliament has come to breaking four months of political deadlock - specifically excluded the Left Party from any influence on policy during the next four years.

"We are in contact with Stefan Lofven and are going to use the next hours and days to find a solution," Sjostedt said.

September's election delivered a hung parliament and the centre-left and centre-right blocs have been at loggerheads on 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.

GRAPHIC - Election scenarios: https://tmsnrt.rs/2p45tJh

(Reporting by Stockholm Newsroom; editing by Niklas Pollard)

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