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POLITICS

Sweden resumes talks to find a new prime minister

Sweden's party leaders will meet with the parliamentary speaker for a second round of talks on Tuesday, with the aim of finding a candidate for prime minister who can lead a workable government.

Sweden resumes talks to find a new prime minister
Parliamentary speaker Andreas Norlén meeting with Social Democrats leader Stefan Löfven last week. Photo: Henrik Montgomery / TT

After the September 9th election left the two main blocs separated by just one seat, arriving at a compromise could be difficult, and the first round of talks last week didn't break the deadlock.

It is the job of newly-elected speaker Andreas Norlén to put forward a proposal for who should become prime minister, but this is only done after talks with the different leaders. On Friday, representatives from the parties appeared to call on Norlén to give one of the eight party leaders the go-ahead to start negotiations on forming a new government.

Both the centre-left bloc and the centre-right Alliance (Moderate Party, Christian Democrats, Centre Party and Liberal Party) believe they should be the one to lead Sweden's next government. If they can't find any common ground, the far-right Sweden Democrats, who are the third largest group, will be influential.

One possible result of Tuesday's talks is that Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson could be asked to try to form a new government, which would force Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven to talk with the centre-right Alliance.

The Social Democrats' spokesperson has said the right person to lead negotiations is Löfven — who was ousted from his job after losing a confidence vote last week, but continues to lead a caretaker administration.

Another possibility is that the Moderates and Christian Democrats might try to form a government with the support of the far-right Sweden Democrats (SD) but without the Alliance's other two parties, the Centre and the Liberals, which have said they will not work with the SD.

Norlén 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 next for Sweden after confidence vote?

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POLITICS

Koran burnings by Danish far-Right extremist no longer causing riots, Swedish police say

Swedish police said there have been no disturbances associated with the Koran burning by Danish far-Right extremist Rasmus Paludan and his party Stram Kurs ("Hard Line") this week around Stockholm, unlike the riots seen over Easter.

Koran burnings by Danish far-Right extremist no longer causing riots, Swedish police say

Paludan and his party have been holding demonstrations this week involving burning the Koran, in what Paludan describes as an “election tour” ahead of standing in Sweden’s parliamentary election in September.

However Swedish newswire TT has reported that few people have seemed to care about the shock tactics used and police have confirmed that no major disturbances have occurred as a result of the demonstrations.

This is in stark contrast to the demonstrations over Easter, which resulted in riots involving vandalism and violence aimed primarily at police. A total of 26 police officers were injured and at least 40 people were arrested.

“The police did not anticipate the extent of the protests and the enormous violence that the Easter riots brought with them. I don’t know if we have seen anything similar in Sweden in modern times,” Sten Widmalm, political scientist at Uppsala University, told newswire TT.

Widmalm says there are now fewer people turning up at Paludan’s demonstrations because of the number of people charged over the Easter riots. He also noted the increased police presence and adapted resources by the police, which has stopped anyone getting close to using violence.

Everyone that TT newswire spoke to a demonstration in Fittja torg, said they knew Paludan’s aim was to provoke people.

“I am a Muslim myself and I don’t care. For a true Muslim, all religions are equal. His message is to create conflict and irritation. You shouldn’t give him that,” Himmet Kaya told TT. 

According to Widmalm, there is nothing to indicate that Paludan will be successful at the Swedish election.

“On the other hand, I think that Stram Kurs has influenced Swedish politics very much in such a way that it has exposed large gaps in society. I think awareness of these has increased, due to the Easter riots – although it’s nothing to thank Paludan for.”

In Sweden, you must be a Swedish citizen in order to be elected to parliament. Paludan’s father is Swedish, and he applied for and was granted Swedish citizenship in 2020.

In order to enter the Swedish parliament, Paludan must win at least four percent of the vote in the upcoming election.

In 2019, Paludan stood in Danish parliamentary elections, achieving only 1.8 percent of the vote. Under Denmark’s proportional representation system, parties must achieve at least two percent of the vote in order to enter the Danish parliament.

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