New Swedish leader promises privatisations

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Welfare reforms and privatisations, but no new euro referendum, form the agenda of new Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt of the centre-right coalition which ousted the Social Democrats.  

Media-friendly 41-year-old Fredrik Reinfeldt won the Swedish elections on 17 September 2006 and will lead the new centre-right coaliton. The four-party bloc won 48% of votes compared with 46.2% for Göran Persson and the parties behind the Social Democrats.

Campaigning on a ticket of moderate welfare reforms and tax incentives to increase employment, Reinfeldt has not promised a radical breakaway from the renowned Swedish social model. The electorate’s fatigue with the percieved arrogance of the Social Democrats, and its mixed record on youth employment, contributed to Reinfeldt’s win.

Reinfeldt plans a privatisation push to sell off some €22 billion of state-owned shares, which could include shares in the bank Nordea, telecoms company TeliaSonera and airline SAS.

He does not want to take head-on the lukewarm European engagement of the Swedes, so a repeat of the 2003 Euro-referendum is not on the cards. 

Göran Persson has announced that he is stepping down as party leader.   

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