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New elections to be held in parts of Sweden

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New elections to be held in parts of Sweden
16:33 CET+01:00
Sweden is set to re-run one municipal and one county council election, the country's Election Review Board (Valprövningsnämnden) announced on Friday, more than five months after the country's September 2010 general elections.

The board decided that the results municipal elections in Örebro in central Sweden, as well as those of the Västra Götaland county council (landsting) elections, were close enough to warrant a new ballot.

As a result, the board has decided that elections in Örebro's northern voting district should be re-run. In Västra Götaland, however, a new vote will be held in all districts.

According to Election Board chair Bengt-Åke Nilsson, the mistakes made in Västra Götaland are so serious that they may have affected the outcome of the election.

In Örebro, a two-party coalition consisting of the Social Democrats and the Left Party (Vänsterpartiet) achieved a majority by a single vote margin.

But according to mathematics professor Svante Linusson, the 36.9 percent of the vote received by the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) should have given the party one more seat on the local council – a seat which instead went to the Social Democrats.

Had Liberal won the seat, they, together with other centre-right parties and the Green Party that make up the Örebro Coalition (Koalition Örebro) would have achieved a majority on the local council.

The Election Review Board's decision comes more than five months after Sweden's September 2010 elections, prompting criticism from political science professor Folke Johansson, an expert in local politics.

"It's an extremely long time, too long. It's good to have a thorough review but a new election loses its importance this long after the regular election," he told the TT news agency.

"It becomes an uncertainly for the electoral system and for the political system. Is it legally binding or not? There shouldn't be any doubt around the legality of a political body's position."

On Thursday, the Liberal Party proposed that politicians be removed from the Election Review Board and that it only consist of judges.

There are no rules as to the first or last date when a new election can be held. However, the decision is to be made jointly by the municipality and the county governing board (länsstyrelsen).

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