Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson was given the task of trying to form a government by parliamentary speaker Andreas Norlén almost two weeks ago, but on Sunday said he had not managed to do so.
After another round of talks with party leaders on Monday, Norlén handed the torch over to Social Democrat leader Löfven, who lost a no-confidence vote in parliament last month after Sweden's September 9th election.
Löfven now has two weeks to negotiate with the other parties to form a potential workable coalition, which the speaker will then put to a vote in the chamber of the Riksdag, if he believes such a vote will be successful.
Norlén has a total of four chances to ask a candidate to try to form a government that will be accepted by parliament – and all four chances still remain, since parliament has not yet voted on any proposal.
It's not essential for a majority in parliament to support the speaker's proposal, but it will fail if a majority vote against it. If they cannot agree, a new election shall be held within three months. However, this has never happened in Swedish history because parliament has always approved the first proposal.
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Sweden's election left the two main blocs separated by just one seat, with the far-right Sweden Democrats making up a third bloc with whom the majority of parties have said they do not want to strike a deal.
This means that some kind of left-right compromise will be needed, which Kristersson last week said he had failed to reach. His announcement to abandon his attempt to form a government came after his colleagues in the centre-right Alliance, the Centre Party and the Liberals, criticized his suggestion to build a minority government with their Christian Democrats partners after not managing to strike a deal with the centre-left.
Löfven's Social Democrats party – which largely dominated Swedish elections for decades – had governed for four years in a coalition with the Greens, and was supported in parliament by the Left Party. The former trade union boss will now likely seek cross-bloc support from the Centre Party and the Liberals.
In the meantime, he continues to lead a caretaker government. This has mostly same power as a regular government, but is expected to take care only of day-to-day issues and things that can't be postponed.