Sweden Faces Complex Cabinet Talks as Main Blocs Fail to Gain Election Majority
The make-up of Sweden’s next Cabinets will probably remain unknown for weeks as neither of the two main political players, the ruling coalition led by the Social Democrats and the opposition center-right Alliance, has managed to secure a majority in Sunday’s parliamentary elections.
The insecurity comes against the backdrop of certain electoral gains made by the far right Sweden Democrats Party.
With nearly all votes counted, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven’s Social Democratic Party won 28.4% of the votes in Sunday’s election, or 101 parliamentary seats, out of 175 needed for a majority.
The Social Democrats have led a minority government with the Greens since 2014, with the informal support of the ex-communist Left Party to pass legislation. Löfven’s coalition bloc, together with the Greens and the Left Party, came to a total of 144 seats, out of 349
The opposition center right Alliance made up of the conservative Moderates, Christian Democrats, Liberals and Center won just one seat fewer, with the highest performing of the four formations, the Moderates, winning 19.8%, or 70 seats.
Löfven, who led one of the EU’s few remaining Social Democratic cabinets, sought to frame the election debates in Sweden as a “referendum on the future of the welfare state”, while calling the far right Sweden Democrats a “racist party” as he cast his ballot on Sunday, as cited by The Local Sweden and AFP.
“It’s… about decency, about a decent democracy. And the Social Democrats and a Social Democratic-led government is a guarantee for not letting the Sweden Democrats extremist party, racist party, get any influence,” he stated.
After the elections in which his Social Democrats scored its weakest result in a century, Löfven invited the centre-right opposition Alliance to talks aimed at a “cross-bloc cooperation”.
The Alliance was quick to reject Löfven’s invite, urging him to resign as it reiterated its determination to form its own government.
Speaking to supporters late on Sunday, Moderate party leader Ulf Kristersson said he planned to build a government that would “unite our country and take responsibility”.
However, that would require starting talks with the Sweden Democrats, while in turn could prove fatal for the center right opposition Alliance, as the Liberal and Center parties have repeatedly ruled out a deal with the far right.
Commentators have predicted a prolonged post-election battle to form a functioning Cabinet in Sweden in light of the inconclusive election results.
(Banner image: Stefan Löfven on Twitter)