Sweden’s Prime Minister Löfven to Step Down after Losing Confidence Vote
Sweden’s leftist Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has lost his post after losing a confidence vote in the Swedish Parliament where no formation holds an outright majority in the wake of the last general elections.
Following the parliamentary elections on September 9, 2018, Löfven’s center-left bloc, led by his Social Democratic Party, has a total of 144 seats in Sweden’s Parliament, with 175 needed for a majority.
The center right opposition Alliance – made up of the conservative Moderates, Christian Democrats, Liberals and Center – holds 143 out of the 349 seats.
Löfven was ousted from the Prime Minister position by the MPs of the Alliance and the votes of the 62 MPs of the far right Sweden Democrats Party.
The loss of the mandatory confidence vote by Löfven was not surprising but it has opened the door for great uncertainty with respect to who would be able to form Sweden’s next Cabinet.
Analysts expect the Parliament Speaker to pick Ulf Kristersson, leader of the Moderate Party – the biggest Alliance party – to try to form a new government, Reuters reports.
However, that would only be possible with support from the far right Sweden Democrats, ostracized by all mainstream parties since the formation made it to the Parliament in 2010, or from the center-left.
The Alliance of the Moderates, Centre, Liberal and Christian Democrats has said it will not negotiate with the far right, and Stefan Lofven’s Social Democrats has ruled out backing an Alliance Cabinet.
The Speaker of the Swedish Parliament is allowed four attempts at finding a new government. If all of them fail, Sweden would have to hold new general elections within three months.
The leader of the Sweden Democrats Jimmie Akesson reiterated on Tuesday that his party would vote against any Cabinet that wishes to isolate it on the top issues of immigration, crime, pensions, and healthcare.
“If Ulf Kristersson wants to be prime minister it can only happen with my help,” Akesson told Swedish television.
There are expectations that some sort of a political compromised would be reached in the upcoming weeks of hard talks in Sweden since holding new general elections does not harbor much potential to yield substantially different results.
Until a new Cabinet is formed, the outgoing Prime Minister Stefan Löfven will lead a transition government.
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