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Now the work begins for Sweden's new leader

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10:50 CEST+02:00
The policies of Sweden's 'New Moderates' are set to dominate the country's new government, after the party's historic performance in Sunday's election. The Moderates gained 26.1 percent of the vote - the party's best result since 1928 and the greatest increase ever by a party between two elections.

For the Liberals it was a disastrous night, losing 5.9 percent and 20 seats in parliament. The Christian Democrats also lost support while the Centre Party gained slightly, becoming Sweden's thrid party.

But despite the differing fortunes, the leaders of the centre-right Alliance were entirely united following their joint victory.

"We have common and well-prepared policies, but we are also agreed that the judgement of the electorate must be a success with the forthcoming government," said Fredrik Reinfeldt to TT.

It was well after 10pm before Reinfeldt was confident enough in the result to be able to declare victory.

"There were moments when you didn't know how it would go - not before the counting was finished could we be sure," said Sweden's new prime minister.

Reinfeldt became party leader in 2003 following a shattering result in the election the year before, and began the work of creating the 'New Moderates'.

"Everybody knows what happened to the party in the 2002 election. Change was needed. Back then in 2003 I couldn't predict that it would turn out like this. Our own changes have been scrutinised, as have all of the Alliance policies," said Reinfeldt.

"Now all those who voted for the Alliance can be proud that their vote has actually brought about a change of government," he went on.

"We won because the Swedish people chose to stop turning a blind eye to, for example, unemployment."

On Sunday night the victors celebrated, but Reinfeldt said that the work would begin on Monday.

"In a month there is a new budget and I hope to be able to present the new government on October 6th," he said.

On Monday morning a mass of reporters were gathered in the mist outside Reinfeldt's home in Täby. At 7.30am there was still no sign of the man of the hour and the house was quiet.

According to reports in Sweden's tabloids, Reinfeldt did not get home until just before 4am, after concluding his election night celebrations with close colleagues at the home of his press chief, Ulrica Schenström.

But at 9.30am two men in grey suits arrived outside Fredrik Reinfeldt's house in a black Mercedes. A few minutes later, the Moderates' leader came out and climbed into the car.

Despite the journalists' calls he did not make any comment, focused perhaps instead on the immediate task facing him - appointing his new ministers.

Reinfeldt and the other Alliance party leaders will negotiate the ministerial posts over the next two weeks, and these must be decided by October 2nd. Parliament opens the following day and Reinfeldt be formally proposed by the Speaker as Sweden's new prime minister.

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