Reinfeldt asked to form a government

Moderate Party leader Fredrik Reinfeldt has been asked by the speaker of Sweden's parliament to form a new government.

Reinfeldt appeared with speaker Björn von Sydow at a press conference in the Riksdag building in Stockholm just after 3pm on Tuesday. Here von Sydow explained that Reinfeldt had been asked to build a four-party government.

At this stage a prospective prime minister is only usually given the job of taking soundings from potential coalition partners. But von Sydow indicated that such soundings would not be necessary given the current political situation, in which a united Alliance is taking over the reins.

“I want to emphasize that Reinfeldt has been given the task of preparing a four-party government, which is a stronger formulation than taking soundings,” he told the press conference. He added that his decision was preliminary until Wednesday, when all the votes from the election are expected to have been counted.

“This feels historic in many ways,” said Reinfeldt, underlining that Sweden has not had a majority government for many years.

“We believe that we can deliver the best results and more powerful policies with a majority government.”

Reinfeldt said he would report back to the speaker on Thursday. Meanwhile on Wednesday von Sydow will inform Crown Princess Victoria of the progress in the process of choosing a new government. Victoria is deputizing as head of state while the king is on official business in San Francisco.

One of the first items on the agenda for the newly elected Riksdag will be to elect a new speaker. The speaker, who is second in Sweden’s order of precedence after the king, acts as a politically neutral figure, although he or she has since 1982 always been chosen from the ranks of the largest party in the ruling bloc. Björn von Sydow himself is a former defence minister in Göran Persson’s government.

The new government is expected to assume power on October 6th.