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Alliance overtakes opposition: poll

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11:16 CEST+02:00
The Alliance government in Sweden has caught up and overtaken the red-green opposition, a new poll from Demoskop published in Expressen on Saturday shows.

Fredrik Reinfeldt's Moderate party is now the largest political party according to the poll, with 35.5 percent.

The Alliance coalition polled 50 percent, a lead of five percent over the opposition.

The new poll is the first since October 2006, shortly after the last general election, that the governing coalition holds a poll lead over the Social Democrats, Left party and the Green party.

The survey shows that the dramatic climb of the Moderate party over the last six months is behind the Alliance coalition's change in fortunes. The Moderates climbed nine percentage points in the poll and thereby become Sweden's largest party.

Mona Sahlin's Social Democrats dropped 8.6 points and can now lay claim to the support of 30.9 percent of the electorate.

However the development has not been uniformly positive for the Alliance parties, with the Centre party and the Christian Democrats both falling under the four percent threshold for parliamentary seats with 3.4 percent and 3.8 percent respectively.

This means that the red-green opposition would remain larger than the Alliance, although in an election neither block would claim a parliamentary majority, Expressen writes.

The far-right Sweden Democrats have doubled their voter support in the Demoskop poll, and now have the backing of 4.2 percent of Swedes.

This would leave the far-right party holding the balance of power in Swedish politics and Moderate party secretary Per Schlingmann said that party's stance has not changed.

"After the election in 2006 we developed a policy in various municipalities to not cooperate with the Sweden Democrats. That is the policy we have and that will apply in the future."

The Social Democrat party secretary, Ibrahim Baylan, lays the blame for the poor opposition showing in the Demoskop poll on the AMF Pension scandal and the focus on the role of trade union chief Wanja Lundby-Wedin, who sits on the pensions firm's board.

Baylan is confident that come an election the AMF Pension executive remuneration scandal will no longer influence public opinion. But he recognized that the election (in September 2010) will be close and that the Social Democrats need to work harder.

The Demoskop poll also shows that only 20 percent of the electorate has confidence in Mona Sahlin while 49 percent backed the prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.

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