Carl Johan Sonesson, from the centre-right Moderate Party, will become the new chair of the region’s Executive Committee, taking over a post held by his father from 1998 to 2002.
“There is a lot to do after the Social Democrats’ rule,” Sonesson said after he was voted in by the regional assembly. “For that reason we are happy that we are taking over.”
He pointed to the poor regional finances, with the latest prognosis predicting that the regional government will end this year with a budget loss of 162m Swedish kronor.
“We are not taking over a table with a good spread, more one that’s been completely cleared away,” he said.
The four Alliance parties will be in a minority it the regional parliament, with 62 of the 149 seats, compared to 57 for the three red-green parties, and 30 for the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats.
This means it will need to secure the support of at least 13 assembly members, from either the red-green bloc or from the Sweden Democrats, to pass any legislation.
Henrik Fritzon, the region's outgoing Social Democrat chair, said he regretted that it had been impossible to strike a deal between the two blocs to prevent the Sweden Democrats gaining influence.
“We wanted to cooperate across the bloc divide, but it didn’t work out that way,” he said. “We think that it is a shame that it didn’t happen, but we are happy to be in opposition today.”