Opposition holds fire on confidence vote

Sweden's opposition parties have agreed to hold fire on a vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Göran Persson until the completion of a Constitutional Committee inquiry in the spring.

But in the wake of the damning report into the government’s reaction following the tsunami catastrophe, the leaders of the conservative parties are said to be sounding out the Left Party and the Greens regarding a possible vote against Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds.

The conservatives said on Tuesday afternoon that they are of one view when it comes to a vote of no confidence against the government.

At an evening press conference, the secretary of the Centre Party, Jöran Hägglund, said that his party’s line in the discussions has been to demand a vote against Freivalds.

Nevertheless, the Centre Party alone is not big enough to bring about a vote in parliament and has spent the last few days exploring the possibility of a joint stance with the conservative alliance.

The Greens have made it clear that they would not stand against Laila Freivalds if the conservatives requested a vote before Christmas. But the party is open to such a move once the Constitutional Committee’s findings on the matter are presented in the spring.

“Our position is that we don’t think it would be unreasonable for Freivalds to be thinking about whether she should remain in her job,” said the Greens’ Peter Eriksson.

He pointed out that the major failings in the government’s reaction to the tsunami were due to a lack of organisation within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Eriksson said it was unlikely that the Greens would support a vote against the Prime Minister.

Göran Persson himself has not changed his view on the issue, stating again that neither he nor anyone else should resign as a consequence of the Catastrophe Commission report.