Could Centre Party leader Annie Lööf get Sweden a government?

Could Centre Party leader Annie Lööf get Sweden a government?
Centre Party leader Annie Lööf. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT
Centre Party leader Annie Lööf will be the next person to lead exploratory coalition talks – after incumbent Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson both failed to form a government.

Parliamentary speaker Andreas Norlén on Thursday appointed Lööf as the next sonderingsperson, giving her one week to break the deadlock between the parties. He said it was possible the deadline could be extended.

“It is a task I have accepted. I understand that it will be difficult and I have taken it on with great humility,” Lööf told press on Thursday afternoon.

Lööf, who leads Sweden's fourth largest party with only 31 seats in parliament, will not necessarily become prime minister, and she does not consider it her “primary focus” to take on the role, Norlén told press after making the announcement.

But after both Löfven and Kristersson failed to gain enough support for their governments, Lööf is possibly seen as centrist enough for both the left and right wings to be willing to negotiate with her. The speaker said that the Centre Party had been mentioned as part of “several possible government constellations” in talks so far.

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Norlén would also not comment on when the next potential vote on a prime ministerial candidate would happen, after Kristersson's proposal of a centre-right government comprising the Moderates and Christian Democrats was voted down on Wednesday.

“There will be one or more votes this autumn,” he said.

There is no set deadline by which Sweden must form a government, but the number of prime ministerial votes that can be held before a snap election is automatically called is capped at four. Three of these chances remain after Kristersson was not accepted by parliament, and the country is now in untested waters — previously, parliament had always accepted the first candidate to be proposed.

Speaking on Thursday, Norlén reiterated that he did not want a second election, but added that this could not be ruled out if the parties failed to reach a compromise.

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