Reinfeldt claimed victory in his first adress to the crowds gathered at the Moderates’ election party. Arriving on stage at 10.50 to a rousing first-name chorus, chants and flag-waving.
It was an emphatic speech where he did all but declare himself as Sweden’s new Prime Minister.
“The Swedish people have voted,” he began. “We have won as the new Moderates; we dared to challenge ourselves, we dared to develop and this is the best result for us in modern times. Those who left us in the last election have come back to us.”
He paraphrased Tony Blair’s victory speech from 1997:
“We stood for election as the New Moderates. We have won as the New Moderates. We will also – together with our Alliance friends – govern as the new Moderates.”
Göran Persson told his party colleagues that all was lost.
“Now the election is done and counted and we didn’t get our majority,” said Persson in his concession speach late Sunday night in Stockholm. “We have lost the election, but we are not a beaten party. We will fight back.”
“Tomorrow I will go to the speaker and hand in my resignation,” he told supporters as they cheered in support.
Persson said he would “not lead the comeback” and that he would be stepping down next March to let a younger leader step forward. He didn’t mention who, but he said, “It is not up to me.”
“I will miss you, and strange as it might seem it is with a sense of companionship and power that I go.”
Results at 12.45 am
With a turnout of just over 80 percent, the Alliance won 48.1 percent of the vote compared to 46.2 percent for the Social Democrats, the Left Party and the Greens.
The breakdown by party is as follows:
Adam Ewing/Christine Demsteader/James Savage