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'Our party will stand alone': Stefan Löfven

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'Our party will stand alone': Stefan Löfven
Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. Photo: TT
15:22 CET+01:00
Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has announced that the Social Democrats will not be entering the March elections together with the Green Party - and will be campaigning alone.
"We will go into these elections as two separate parties. We have built the government with them and we agreed on a budget that I was very proud of," Löfven told reporters on Friday.
 
"We are open to cooperation - more cooperation - both us and the Greens, and we've said this the whole time."
 
He added that he has never changed his stance on this issue. Gustav Fridolin, one of the leaders of the Green Party, agreed that there was nothing dramatic in the announcement. 
 
"I think the last few days on the Swedish political scene have been dramatic enough without us needing to over-dramatize this," he told reporters in Brussels. 
 
The move, however, can be regarded as the Social Democrats taking "a step away" from the Greens, said political scientist Nicholas Aylott from Södertörn University in Stockholm.
 
 
"They were in government together for such a short time, they had their own budget, they said they would campaign on it, but they seem to have changed their minds," he told The Local. 
 
He said that there were two possible reasons why the party would want to distance itself from its coalition partner. 
 
"Firstly, it could be a gesture to get the trade unions on board. The head of the LO trade union said recently that he thought the party must do exactly this. LO and the Social Democrats have extremely intimate ties both historically and currently, and it will be difficult for the Social Democrats to mobilize support without help from the unions," he explained. 
 
"Secondly, and more generally in a political sense, there's been an awful lot of speculation about how forging a coalition with the Greens was a big mistake for the Social Democrats. Everyone should have known this really, but it turned out the Greens' policy preferences were difficult for the Social Democrats to accept, and they also complicated the chances of making any deals with the Alliance."
 
 
"The Social Democrats and the Greens are almost doomed to collaborate, but for the moment, I think it probably suits the Social Democrats to put a bit of distance between themselves and the Greens," he said. 
 
Sweden's Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson said on Friday that she was hoping to expand the Social Democrats range of inter-party cooperation. 
 
"We've had a very constructive cooperation with the Green Party," she told the TT news agency. "But I'd really like to see cooperation with several parties, in one way or another."
 
Swedes will go to the polls again in late March after Löfven announced the re-election last week. He insisted that he was not to blame for the move, rather that other parties were not cooperating to get his coalition's budget accepted. 
 
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