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Victory for Sweden's ruling party

Persson told his supporters that every vote was vital  

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (CNN) -- Sweden's ruling Social Democratic party has won Sunday's general election, preliminary results show, allowing it to remain in power for another four years.

Led by Prime Minister Goran Persson, the Social Democrats garnered 40.1 percent of the vote and remain the largest party in the Scandinavian country.

The environmentalist Greens received 4.6 percent and the ex-Communist Party of the Left won 8.4 percent, giving the ruling left-wing coalition a clear majority.

The four-party moderate coalition, comprising the Moderates, the People's Party, the Center Party and the Christian Democrats, won 43.6 percent of the vote.

Preliminary results were released after more than 90 percent of the ballots were counted.

Robin Oakley: Sweden bucks right-wing trend 
Persson: 'They can trust us' 

Conservative leader Bo Lundgren conceded defeat in a speech Sunday night, but said he is not considering leaving the leadership of the Moderates even though his party lost eight percentage points.

Persson, whose Social Democrats advanced by almost four points, thanked the voters for "a fantastic result."

Swedish voters bucked a recent European trend that has seen center-left governments defeated at the polls by the conservative opposition in such key European Union nations as France, Italy, and the Netherlands.

Lundgren led the opposition in a campaign dominated by the themes of privatization and tax reduction, strong issues in a country famed for its welfare state -- financed by some of the world's highest taxes -- and vast public-sector economy.

The main issue facing the newly confirmed government is Sweden's adoption of the euro.

Among the 15-member European Union, only Great Britain, Denmark, and Sweden have opted to stay out of the European common currency. Persson, who is in favor of joining, is hoping to hold a referendum on the euro next year.

Polls show a majority of Swedes wants to join the common currency, but the prime minister has shown caution on the subject.

"I don't want to go to a referendum if I'm not able to win it," he told CNN European Political Editor Robin Oakley. Two years ago, neighboring Denmark rejected the euro in a similar referendum.


• Persson: 'They can trust us'
September 12, 2002
• Netherlands Decides 2002
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• Germany Decides 2002
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• Sweden not ready for euro, EC says
May 22, 2002
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