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Union boss poised to lead Swedish opposition party

STOCKHOLM (AP) – A metal-workers union boss is poised to take over Sweden’s main opposition Social Democratic Party after the previous leader stepped down following a string of gaffes and waffling on key policy issues.

Stefan Lofven has led the powerful IF Metall union since 2005. He received the backing Thursday of the left-leaning party’s executive committee. The party leadership is to make a formal decision Friday.

Once the dominant political force in Sweden, the Social Democrats have been in a downward spiral since losing power to a center-right coalition in 2006.

Support shrunk to a historical low in the 2010 election, and kept falling in opinion polls after lawmaker Hakan Juholt took over. He resigned Saturday as doubts grew over his competence as party leader.

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