January 13, 2019 / 3:14 PM / 10 days ago

Swedish Liberal party to back Social Democrat Lofven as PM

FILE PHOTO: Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven arrives at a European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium December 13, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden’s center-right Liberal party voted on Sunday to back a deal that could give Social Democrat leader Stefan Lofven a second term in office after months of deadlock since the tied election.

The Centre Party and the Greens have also agreed to back Lofven’s future budget bills in a four-party deal that would force the center-left leader to reverse course and deliver tax cuts and labor market reform if he becomes prime minister.

The Liberals’ executive committee voted 62-30 in favor of the deal, Swedish newswire TT reported.

The parties will still be short of a majority in the 349-seat parliament and will need support from the Left Party, which backed Lofven’s Social Democrat and Green coalition from 2014-18, to pass bills.

September’s election delivered a hung parliament and the two major blocs have been at loggerheads over how to form a government without the support of the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, a party with roots in the white-supremacist fringe and who hold the balance of power.

The speaker will nominate a candidate for the premiership on Monday and parliament will hold a vote on Jan. 16.

Lawmakers have already voted twice against Lofven and once against his rival Ulf Kristersson, the leader of the four-party Alliance that includes the Centre and Liberal parties.

(GRAPHIC - Election scenarios: tmsnrt.rs/2p45tJh)

Reporting by Stockholm Newsroom; Editing by David Goodman

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