Sweden's Left Party says could back centre-left budgets from outside government

STOCKHOLM Fri Aug 22, 2014 10:42am EDT

Jonas Sjostedt addresses the party congress January 6, 2012, after being chosen to replace Lars Ohly (not shown) as the new leader of Sweden's Left Party.   REUTERS/Fredrik Sandberg/Scanpix

Jonas Sjostedt addresses the party congress January 6, 2012, after being chosen to replace Lars Ohly (not shown) as the new leader of Sweden's Left Party.

Credit: Reuters/Fredrik Sandberg/Scanpix

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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden's Left Party leader said on Friday he may support budgets from a Social Democrat-led government in which he was not a partner, easing concerns the centre-left might not be able to form a stable government after elections next month.

Jonas Sjostedt said he wanted his Left Party to be part of a centre-left government and to be involved in drawing up budgets.

But he said the Left could back the Social Democrats and Green budgets even if it was not in a formal coalition.

"It would be unwise to rule it out," he said.

Sjostedt's comments follow a threat by the current four-party Alliance government that it might not step aside for a minority centre-left government if the latter could not count on backing from the Left Party on budgets.

A recent poll gives the Social Democrats, Greens and Left Party 50.4 percent of the vote to 35.6 percent for the Alliance.

The Social Democrats have said the Greens are a natural partner, but they have shied away from the Left Party worried that tax hikes demanded by Sjostedt may spook voters.

The Left Party has also called for an end to profit-making in healthcare and education, a measure that would stamp a centre-left government as unfriendly to business, something the Social Democrats want to avoid.

(Additional reporting by Johan Sennero, writing by Simon Johnson Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

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