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Riksdag confirms Westerberg as speaker

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14:46 CEST+02:00
Sweden's newly elected parliament met for the first time on Monday. The first item on the agenda was to choose a new speaker, a job that traditionally goes to the ruling bloc.

The post was won as expected, by Per Westerberg, a member for the Moderate Party. He beat the Social Democrats' Björn von Sydow, speaker in the last parliament, by 177 votes to 169. One member abstained.

The Riksdag elected Social Democrat Jan Björkman as first deputy speaker. The new second deputy speaker is the Centre Party's Birgitta Sellén, the third deputy speaker is Liselott Hagberg of the Liberals.

The new members of parliament arrived to a newly renovated chamber, with new seats and an updated electronic voting system. New debating chairs have been installed at the front of the chamber, so that members taking part in debates can sit close together.

The move is a reaction to the impression created in televised debates, in which the chamber often looks nearly empty due to the fact that members are spread out across the room.

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