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Dec 3, 2014 11:17 AM

Swedish premier to call for new vote on March 22

The Associated Press

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) After only two months in office, Sweden's prime minister said Wednesday he will call for new elections to be held on March 22 next year.

Social Democrat Stefan Lofven announced the decision after lawmakers rejected his left-leaning minority government's first budget proposal.

A far-right party sided with the center-right opposition to vote against the budget with the aim of toppling the coalition that took office in October. 182 lawmakers voted against the budget in Parliament Wednesday, while only 153 voted in favor.

Lofven needs to wait until Dec. 29 to officially call for the new elections according to rules set out in Sweden's Constitution.

The anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats' move to rebel against the budget proposal was considered a major political breakthrough for the group that became the country's third-largest party in the 349-seat Parliament in September's general elections.

Lofven became prime minister in October as head of a coalition with the Greens, promising to reverse many reforms by the previous center-right government.

He accused the anti-immigrant party of wanting "to knock out any government that doesn't dance to their tune."

From the start, Lofven's minority government which has 138 seats in parliament was expected to struggle to push its agenda through. With the support of the former Communist Left Party, which stands outside the Cabinet, it controls 159 seats.

The center-right opposition, made up of four parties, has 141 seats, but the 49 extra votes expected from the Sweden Democrats would be enough to topple the ruling coalition.


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