Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson unexpectedly announced Friday that he will resign next March, more than two years before his four-year term expires.
In a news conference, Carlsson said he has fulfilled most of his goals since returning to office last year and wanted to spend more time with his family.
“It is my ambition to resign and experience that which I haven’t experienced in 30 years - to not have a calendar that’s booked six months in advance,” he said.
Sounding jocular compared to his usual monotone, Carlsson cited his accomplishments, including leading Sweden into the European Union on Jan. 1 and laying the foundation for reducing the national debt burden. He has nudged his Social Democratic Party into adopting more conservative fiscal policies.
Still, the debt remains high - about 90 percent of gross domestic product - and recent opinion polls have found that Swedes would not vote to join the EU if given the chance again.