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Sweden begins process of finding a new prime minister

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Sweden begins process of finding a new prime minister
Speaker Andreas Norlén, brown hair, walking next to King Carl XVI Gustaf, on the opening day of parliament. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT
07:57 CEST+02:00
The new speaker of parliament – whose job it is to find a new prime minister for Sweden – is set to meet all the party leaders in the coming days, starting with incumbent PM Stefan Löfven today.

Sweden's September 9th election left the centre-left bloc with just one seat more than the centre-right Alliance, with the Sweden Democrats as the third biggest group. The latter two voted Social Democrat PM Löfven out of his role on Tuesday, and now some form of compromise will need to be reached.

Speaker Andreas Norlén has the official task of putting forward a proposal for who should become prime minister. To do so he will meet individually with the leaders of the eight parties in parliament.

Both the centre-left and the centre-right Alliance have said they are prepared to strike a bipartisan compromise which would allow one side to form a minority government with the informal support of the other in parliament. However, both sides believe they should be the parties in government.

Both blocs have said they will not negotiate with the far-right Sweden Democrats, although the Alliance's Christian Democrats have said they would be prepared to do so if necessary.

"We have agreed that we will not negotiate or cooperate with the Sweden Democrats and my focus is now to form an Alliance government that has constructive, result-oriented cross-bloc talks," Annie Lööf, leader of the Centre Party which has been the most vocal of the four-party Alliance about not joining forces with the Sweden Democrats, told Swedish news agency TT.

The speaker of parliament will meet the party leaders in order of size, which means that the first meeting will be held with the Social Democrats' Löfven on Thursday, followed by the centre-right Moderates' Ulf Kristersson and the Sweden Democrats' Jimmie Åkesson, who has previously said his preferred choice would be for the conservative Moderates and the Christian Democrats to form a government without the more liberal Centre Party and the Liberal Party.

He will also meet the leaders of the Left Party and the Green Party.

Norlén will then decide who he thinks would be able to form a working government and put forward his proposal to parliament, which will vote on it. He has four attempts to get parliament to agree to a new prime minister, or at least convince enough MPs to abstain and not actively vote against the candidate.

If they fail to agree on any of the four proposals, a new election must be held within three months. However, this has never happened in Swedish history.

READ ALSO: What's the role of the Sweden Democrats in all of this?

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