Sweden profile

King: Carl XVI Gustaf

King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden attends his birthday ceremony at the Royal Palace in Stockholm on 30 April 2014 Sweden's king fulfils a purely ceremonial role

King Carl XVI Gustaf ascended the throne in 1973, on the death of his grandfather Gustaf VI Adolf. The current king's father died in a plane crash in 1947, when Carl Gustav was only nine months old.

During his long royal apprenticeship, Carl Gustav underwent the usual military training, but also studied history, politics and economics at Swedish universities, served in the diplomatic corps, and worked in banking and commerce.

Constitutional changes in 1974 deprived the king of all but ceremonial duties, such as opening parliament and representing Sweden at the diplomatic level.

King Carl XVI Gustaf is best known abroad for presenting the annual Nobel Prizes.

He married in 1976, and he and Queen Silvia have three children, the eldest of whom - Princess Victoria - is heir to the throne.

Outgoing prime minister: Fredrik Reinfeldt

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt gives a speech in parliament in March 2011 Fredrik Reinfeldt's course of moderate conservatism has included tax and welfare cuts

The Alliance for Sweden, a centre-right coalition headed by Moderate Party leader Fredrik Reinfeldt, came to power at elections in September 2006, ending 10 years of rule by the Social Democrat Party.

Governing with a slim seven-seat majority in its first term, Mr Reinfeldt's government cut income taxes, trimmed benefits and sold off state assets.

Buoyed by Sweden's rapid economic recovery from the 2008 , Mr Reinfeldt looked assured to win a second term ahead of elections in 2010 and become the first centre-right PM to be re-elected since World War II.

However, his Alliance for Sweden fell short of an overall majority by two seats, and Mr Reinfeldt formed a minority coalition government. The anti-immigration Swedish Democrats became Sweden's first far right party to win seats in parliament.

The opposition centre-left Social Democrats, who governed Sweden for much of the period since World War II, suffered a painful slump in support.

Strong growth continued into the run-up to the next election in 2014, but voters became increasingly concerned about stubbornly high unemployment and declining welfare and education services.

After becoming party leader of the right-wing Moderate Party in 2003, Mr Reinfeldt moved it towards the political centre, toning down its criticism of Sweden's welfare state and adopting a consensual approach. He supports Sweden's entry into Nato, provided there is cross-party support.

Born in 1965, Fredrik Reinfeldt joined his party's youth wing in 1991.

  • A centre-left coalition led by the Social Democrats won the parliamentary elections of 15 September 2014 but fell short of an overall majority. Social Democrats leader Stefan Lofven is in talks to form a government, but has ruled out any deal with the anti-immigration, far-right Sweden Democrats, who have emerged as the third biggest party in parliament.

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