Swedish PM to stand down after losing confidence vote

Stefan Löfven lost the vote by 204 to 142 but immediately pledged to fight his way back

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven is to step down after he lost a mandatory confidence vote in parliament.

In Tuesday's dramatic vote, 204 MPs voted against Mr Lofven while 142 voted in favour. Both main political blocs in the parliament have refused to cooperate with the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats party, which made great strides in the election. The balance of power in the... The vote was mandatory after the September 9 general election delivered a hung parliament.

Ulf Kristersson, leader of the Sweden's Moderate Party, addresses supporters at an election night party in Stockholm on September 9, 2018.

The Alliance of the Moderates, Centre, Liberals and Christian Democrats parties has said it will not negotiate with the Sweden Democrats, which wants to halt immigration and hold a new vote on membership of the European Union. The center-left and center-right blocs control respectively 144 and 143 seats while the Sweden Democrats have 62 lawmakers in the assembly.

But the party won 18% of the vote in the recent general election - up from 13% four years ago - demonstrating a growing base in Sweden.

Speaking after the vote, Mr Lofven, who is still the leader of the largest party, said he meant to work to form another government across the political divide.

After his ouster, Lofven issued a stark warning to the Alliance about cooperating with the Sweden Democrats.

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A general view of the confidence vote in Swedish parliament Riksdagen, where Lofven was ousted in no-confidence vote, in Stockholm, Sweden September 25, 2018. "They have repeatedly been found to have ties to racist and neo-Nazi organizations", Lofven added.

Norlen is widely expected to task Ulf Kristersson, the head of the opposition Alliance coalition, with the job, but the Alliance does not hold a majority in parliament and has so far ruled out any collaboration with the Sweden Democrats.

While Lofven himself has been a fervent champion of cross-bloc politics, he has rejected any Social Democratic support for an Alliance minority government.

The Social Democrats are the country's biggest party and will "never be a support party", Lofven reiterated Tuesday. "Today's vote doesn't change anything in terms of the mandates decided by voters".

"I will work for a solution, Sweden needs a government", he said.

Andreas Norlen, a centre-right Moderate party politician who was elected parliament Speaker on Monday, will now propose a new leader with the majority needed to form a new government. After that, new elections have to be called.

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