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Sweden's centre-right leader asked to form a government (or at least give it his best shot)

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Sweden's centre-right leader asked to form a government (or at least give it his best shot)
Andreas Norlén, left, and Ulf Kristersson. Photo: Fredrik Persson/TT
15:13 CEST+02:00
The speaker of the Swedish parliament has asked Ulf Kristersson, leader of the centre-right Moderate party, to try to form a government.

Sweden's September 9th election left the two main blocs separated by just one seat. Arriving at a compromise has proved difficult, and the first round of talks last week didn't break the deadlock. 

After meeting the party leaders for a second round of talks on Tuesday, newly-elected speaker Andreas Norlén put forward Kristersson as his proposal for who should be in charge of forming a government.

The decision does not necessarily mean that Kristersson will become prime minister. It does mean that he has been asked to approach other party leaders to reach a compromise that would allow him to form a government, then propose that to Norlén, who will decide whether or not to put it to a vote in parliament.

Norlén told journalists on Tuesday afternoon that he had given Kristersson a deadline of two weeks to come up with a viable proposal. In the meantime, incumbent centre-left Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, who was voted out by parliament a week ago, will continue to lead a caretaker government.

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about the Swedish election

Both Löfven's centre-left bloc and Kristersson have previously said they are prepared to strike a bipartisan compromise, allowing one side to form a minority government with the support of the other in parliament. However, Löfven has said he believes his Social Democrats should be in charge of such a coalition.

Norlén said that the two top candidates for the role of prime minister were Löfven as the leader of Sweden's biggest party and Kristersson as the leader of the bloc most likely to be supported by most of parliament.

He said that while it was not a clear-cut decision, if one of the candidates had already lost a confidence vote in parliament (as Löfven did last week) it made sense to approach the opposing candidate, Kristersson.

"A great onus is now placed on the parties and party leaders to reconsider their previous positions and make it possible to form a government," said Norlén. "I don't want to become the first speaker who does not manage to get a prime ministerial candidate elected."

The speaker 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, a new election shall be held within three months. So far, parliament has always approved the first proposal.

Another question to be resolved is what role will be played by the far-right Sweden Democrats (SD) – the country's third biggest group after the election. Both blocs have said they will not negotiate with the SD, although the Alliance's Christian Democrats have said they would be prepared to do so if necessary.

How many seats do the parties have in parliament?

Social Democrats: 100

Moderates: 70

Sweden Democrats: 62

Centre Party: 31

Left Party: 28

Christian Democrats: 22

Liberals: 20

Green Party: 16

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Kim William Jones - 04 Oct 2018 01:45
Let me get this straight: The left bloc has one more seat than the Alliance, but the Alliance thinks that they should govern? Is the Alliance saying that yes, they would certainly have the majority if they counted the seats of the Sverigedemokraterna? Do they really want to do that?
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