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Löfven takes over: 'our values are timeless'

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Löfven takes over: 'our values are timeless'
12:38 CET+01:00
Stefan Löfven was formally installed as the new leader of Sweden's struggling Social Democrat party on Friday following the resignation of Håkan Juholt last weekend.

While news emerged late Wednesday night that Löfven was the consensus choice of the party's executive committee, the nomination was formally approved by the Social Democrats' governing board on Friday.

As Löfven took to the podium at Friday's announcement, he was greeted by a warm round of applause from his party colleagues.

“I'm really too squeamish for things like this,” he said.

“This is the most prized job a social democrat can get.”

“I'm very convinced by social democratic policies. And know that our county demands them.”

Löfven also thanked Juholt for his time at the helm of the party, which has been plagued by low poll numbers and uncertainly about its leadership ever since posting dismal election results in 2010.

“You should receive great recognition for what you have done. Thank you, Håkan!” he said.

In his acceptance speech, Löfven also told of his first meeting with Olof Palme.

“It's not easy for a welder from Örnsköldsvik to follow in those footsteps,” he said.

“I'm accepting this role because I'm convinced of social democracy. Our ideas are timeless. We're going to continue working with them.”

Löfven also referenced the current crisis plaguing the party.

“But despite this uphill battle, I have a strong sense of reassurance. I know how many women and men in this country are passionate about our values and our politics,” he said.

The newly-installed party leader also thanked other former Social Democrat party chairs, including Ingvar Carlsson and Göran Persson, both of whom were in the front row of the gathered party faithful.

“They are wonderful role models,” said Löfven.

Shortly before the official announcement, party secretary Carin Jämtin praised Löfven for the perspective and skills he brings to the job.

“Stefan Löfven is rooted in Örnsköldsvik, Stockholm, and the world,” she said.

“I know him as a person who can bring people together behind a process.”

Persson characterized the choice of Löfven as a new start for the Social Democrats.

“Yes it is, and that's important. He's someone who brings to Swedish politics a perspective that we've lacked. Sweden's strength is our export industries. Our entire position is built on it's development and upheld. It's good that we have a person who knows it from the inside,” the former prime minister told the TT news agency.

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