Stefan Löfven given more time to try to form a government

Stefan Löfven given more time to try to form a government
Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT
Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven has been given more time to try to form a new government, the parliamentary speaker said on Sunday evening.

Löfven will put forward his government proposal no sooner than 9am on Wednesday, according to speaker Andreas Norlén, who had earlier said Löfven would be formally proposed as prime minister on Monday. He had earlier expressed willingness to extend the time limit if “productive” talks were already under way.

“The process needs more time and I welcome the fact the speaker has approved this, and that the time to formally submit a proposal has been pushed back,” said Löfven in a written comment to the TT newswire.

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The Liberal Party, which last week offered conditional support to Löfven as PM, also said it welcomed the decision. They would not be part of a potential government but have said they would abstain from the vote in return for “a turn to the right” on economic policies.

The Centre Party, part of the four-bloc Alliance which has stood in opposition to Löfven's centre-left bloc, has also said it is open to a Social Democrat-led government, but has its own list of policies it is requesting in return for support.

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.

The vote on Löfven will be the second chance after parliament voted down Moderates leader Ulf Kristersson. This happened after the Centre Party and Liberals refused to back a government that relied on support from the far-right Sweden Democrats. This means the country is now in untested waters — previously, parliament had always accepted the first candidate to be proposed.

In theory, a government proposal does not need a single vote in its favour in order to pass, but it will fail if a majority votes against it. This means that a government can be “tolerated” by abstentions, sometimes called “passive support”.

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