Swedish P.M. resigns after losing election

Sept. 18, 2006 at 4:35 PM

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson resigned Monday, saying he believes the country is in better shape today than it was when he took office 10 years ago.

Persson and his Social Democratic Party remain in charge of the government until early October, The Local reported. But they are barred from any new political initiatives.

The Alliance, spearheaded by Moderate Party leader Fredrik Reinfeldt, won Sunday's election. Reinfeldt is to meet speaker Bjorn von Sydow Tuesday to discuss forming a new government.

"It's a strange feeling," Persson told reporters as he walked to von Sydow's office. "The others are arriving to a ready-laid table. But I prefer to leave after an election defeat where I can say that Sweden is in much better shape than for a very, very long time."

The Alliance, a grouping of four parties, won 178 seats in parliament, while the left-wing coalition won 171. Alliance leaders met Monday in Reinfeldt's office to discuss how to divide cabinet positions.

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