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Power shift beckons in Swedish election re-run

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10:19 CEST+02:00
As a county council election re-run beckons in western Sweden, the Social Democrats are losing ground and could lose power, new figures show.

According to a recent survey carried out by market research institute Sifo, the Social Democrats have lost ground in the Västra Götaland region in the last eight months.

“It is surprising that the Social Democrats are losing voters. They have a new party leader and are spending the most funds on the re-election campaign. They must feel very worried right now," said Gunnar Falkemark, political scientist at the University of Gothenburg.

The survey also showed that the alliance parties have a slight advantage over the centre-left Red-Green opposition, but that neither side would win a majority if an election was held today.

The poll placed the Social Democrats as the largest party with 27.6 percent of the vote, closely followed by the Moderates on 27.1 percent.

The Greens are gaining most ground in the region, compared to the figures from last year, with the party polling 10.3 percent.

Among the smaller parties the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) is the strongest with 8.8 percent in the poll, followed by the Left Party with 7.5 percent, the Christian Democrats on 6.7 percent, and Centre on 4.3 percent.

The Sweden Democrats, who along with the Social Democrats have invested heavily in the election, polled 4.5 percent which represents no change on their showing in the September 2010 election.

The poll shows that the Healthcare Party (Sjukvårdspartiet) is most likely to lose its seats on the council, placing Red-Green rule in jeopardy.

The Healthcare Party currently props up the Red-Green minority rule. But as the party looks unlikely to secure the required 3 percent threshold, according to Sifo's survey, they may be forced to step aside in the council.

Sweden’s Election Review Board (Valprövningsnämnden) announced in February that the Västra Götaland county council election would need to be re-run after irregularities in the September 2010 vote.

According to the board, there were several reasons for the decision and results were close enough to warrant a new ballot.

The re-run of the election will be held on May 15th. Aside from Västra Götaland county, there will also be re-runs held in a municipal constituency in Örebro.

The Sifo survey consisted of 1,000 people and was carried out the week following Easter.

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