Social Democratic parliamentary group leader Sven-Erik Österberg<br><p>

Social Democrats pass over Österberg as leader

Swedish Television News reports that the committee searching for a new leader for the opposition Social Democratic party has rejected suggestions that parliamentary group chief Sven-Erik Österberg could take the post temporarily.

Representatives of 26 Social Democratic district offices were reportedly unable to reach agreement Wednesday evening on the plan for a transitional replacement for outgoing leader Mona Salin.

Following its disappointing loss in parliamentary elections in September to the governing center-right coalition, and with polls showing further declines in support in the months since, the party is scheduled to elect a new leader in late March.

According to the district representatives, the debate is less about ideology than a reflection of disagreements over whether to elevate an experienced figure familiar to voters versus taking a chance on a less well-known personality who might appeal to a broader base.

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