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Reinfeldt praises Leijonborg after resignation

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16:06 CEST+02:00
Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has said he is sad that Liberal Party leader Lars Leijonborg has resigned, but added that he hoped he would stay on as education minister.

In a statement released on Friday, Reinfeldt said that Leijonborg had played an important role in forming the four-party Alliance for Sweden, which defeated the Social Democrat government in September's election.

"He is and has been a constructive force for driving the centre-right partnership forward," said Reinfeldt, who is also leader of the Moderate Party, the largest of the four Alliance members.

"In Lars I have had not only a party-leader colleague, but also a friend. The fact that he has now chosen to leave is sad from not only a professional perspective but also from a personal standpoint. At the same time I have the greatest respect for Lars's decision and hope that he stays as research and education minister."

Leijonborg himself has said he does not yet know whether he will remain in the government when he ceases to be party leader.

The leaders of the other two parties in the Alliance, Maud Olofsson and Göran Hägglund, also expressed their sadness at his resignation.

Olofsson, deputy prime minister and leader of the Centre Party, said in a statement that she was sorry about Leijonborg's resignation, but added that she could understand his decision.

"Things have been hard for Lars and he's been under great pressure. Lars Leijonborg has been a good friend and an important player in our four-leaf clover. He has been an important part of our partnership in Alliance for Sweden and in bringing about a change of government," Olofsson said.

Christian Democrat leader Göran Hägglund said that Leijonborg had "made great contributions to Swedish political life for a long time and is one of our country's most experienced politicians."

"But there is broad support for the Alliance for Sweden in the Liberal Party, as in the Alliance's other parties," Hägglund added.

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