Swedish parliament confirms Stefan Lofven as PM, ending deadlock
Fall election with no clear winner left country without a government for 4 months
Sweden's parliament voted on Friday to give Social Democrat leader Stefan Lofven a second term in office, ending more than four months of deadlock after an inconclusive election.
Lofven agreed to an historic deal with the Centre, Liberal and Green parties last week, bringing together parties from the centre-right and centre-left in order to prevent the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats from having a voice in policy.
The deal will see Lofven, a former welder and union leader, cut taxes and deregulate the labor and property rental market, a sharp shift to the right that is likely to alienate many of the Social Democrat's traditional supporters.
Lofven was supported by 115 lawmakers while 153 voted against him and 77 abstained. According to Swedish law, the nominee becomes prime minister as long as more than half of the total number of parliamentarians do not vote against him or her.
The Sept. 9 election delivered a hung parliament with neither major bloc able to rule without the support of the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, a party with roots in the white-supremacist fringe.
To get support from two centre-right parties, Lofven had to compromise over labour laws, causing irritation from his party's union backers and the Left Party.
Jan Bjorklund of the Liberals, whose party supported Lofven, noted "how racist and populist parties have strengthened their positions across the world."
"We have chosen another path," he said.
Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Akesson, who had hoped for more political influence, repeatedly used the word "absurd" to describe the coalition talks.
"My ambition now is that the Sweden Democrats will be a dominating force in a new strong centre-right opposition," he said.
Lofven will present his government and start his second term as prime minister on Monday.
With files from The Associated Press