Stockholm, Sweden A center-right opposition vowing to streamline Sweden's famed welfare state ousted the Social Democratic government in a close parliamentary election Sunday, ending 12 years of leftist rule in the Nordic nation.
Prime Minister Goran Persson, who had governed for 10 years, conceded defeat and said his Cabinet would resign after the Social Democratic Party's worst election result in decades.
With 99.7 percent of districts counted, the four-party opposition alliance led by Fredrik Reinfeldt had 48.1 percent of the votes, compared with 46.2 percent for the Social Democrats and their two supporting parties.
Persson said Sweden's social model - a market economy blended with a high-tax welfare state - was at stake in the election. But the opposition led by Reinfeldt's Moderate Party insisted it would not dismantle the system but help it survive by promoting jobs over welfare handouts.
Final official results were expected Wednesday but were unlikely to change the outcome.