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Dec 27, 2014 5:26 AM

Sweden's PM: No early elections next year

The Associated Press

HELSINKI (AP) Sweden's prime minister said on Saturday there will be no early elections next year as the left-leaning government has reached an agreement with opposition parties on a budget proposal.

Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said during a press conference in Stockholm that the deal negotiated among six key parties allows his minority government to continue ruling and arranging a new election is not "topical anymore."

"This decision means that Sweden can be governed despite the difficult parliamentary situation," said Lofven.

On Dec. 3, he had announced an early election, but he had to wait until at least Dec. 29 to officially call the election, according to Sweden's constitution.

Saturday's pact, which avoids a fresh election, was concluded among Lofven's Social Democratic Party and the Greens, which make up the current government, and four center-right opposition parties.

Lofven said the deal dubbed "The December Agreement" is valid until 2022 and essentially means that the opposition abstains from voting against the government's budget proposals starting from April 2015 onwards.

It also coordinates the parties' polices on pensions, defense and energy issues.

A government crisis emerged earlier this month as the far-right Sweden Democrats party sided with the opposition to vote against the budget.

The arrangement announced Saturday excludes the Sweden Democrats, whose polices have left it isolated as the main parties have refused to cooperate with it.

Lofven's government took office in October. It holds 138 seats in the 349-seat Parliament.



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