Swedish government comes up short in preliminary recount
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden's centre-right ruling coalition picked up one more seat in parliament but remained just short of an outright majority, the preliminary result of a recount of votes in Sunday's election showed on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt's coalition won 173 seats in the preliminary recount issued by the election commission versus the 172 announced on election night, but still fell short of the 175 seats needed to retain a majority.
If confirmed, the result would leave Reinfeldt leading a minority government in the 349-seat parliament.
Though he won the vote, the entry into parliament for the first time of the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats helped deprive him of his majority. The Sweden Democrats got 20 seats and the centre-left opposition 156 seats.
An election commission spokeswoman said the preliminary result was being reviewed by county administrative boards before being declared definitive.
Reinfeldt has said he will reach out to the opposition Green Party for support in parliament, but the Greens have already said their voters would not approve of such a link.
At the same time, both Reinfeldt's centre-right, four-party Alliance coalition and the Social Democrat-led centre-left opposition, which includes the Greens, have said they want to avoid depending on the Sweden Democrats for support.
The preliminary results include postal votes and overseas ballots not included in the election night tally.
Mathematics professor Svante Linusson, an expert on Sweden's proportional representation system, was quoted by local media as saying that Reinfeldt's coalition failed to get a majority by just 16 votes in two districts.
Under election rules the result can be appealed within 10 days of its being published and Swedish news agency TT said this process could last until November. For now, the parliament based on the results from the election commission will sit, it said.
Sweden has had minority governments before and special rules mean the key budget bill can only be rejected if the opposition parties agree on a comprehensive alternative. Given centre-left rejection of the Sweden Democrats, this seems unlikely.
On other legislation, Reinfeldt may have to seek support from the opposition, or get laws passed with the tacit backing of the Sweden Democrats, a move that would cause controversy.
(Reporting by Niklas Pollard and Patrick Lannin; editing by Tim Pearce)
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