Persson hands in his resignation

"I request to be allowed take my leave of the position of prime minister."

With that one line letter, Göran Persson sealed the end of his ten year premiership.

“It’s a strange feeling,” said Persson to the assembled press as he made his way to speaker Björn von Sydow’s offices in the Riksdag at 4pm on Monday.

“The others are arriving to a ready-laid table.”

“But I prefer to leave after an election defeat where I can say that Sweden is in much better shape than for a very, very long time.”

Persson will remain prime minister until Fredrik Reinfeldt has assembled his government and parliament has convened. Reinfeldt meets Björn von Sydow tomorrow, when he will be asked to form a new government.

The Riksdag will vote on the proposal for prime minister on 5th September, and the Alliance will formally assume power on 6th October.

While the Social Democrats will remain in office until then, ministers will only be allowed to ensure the vital functions of state continue, and will not be permitted to take political initiatives.