Green Party approves new Swedish government agreement

The Green Party on Sunday gave its formal backing to a deal struck on Friday that aims to finally end months of political gridlock in Sweden.

Green Party approves new Swedish government agreement
The Green Party's Isabella Lövin and Gustav Fridolin at Sunday's press conference. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT
The party voted overwhelming to support an agreement it struck with the Centre Party, the Liberals and the Social Democrats that would allow Stefan Löfven to stay on as prime minister. 
Green Party spokeswoman Isabella Lövin said that a significant majority of the party’s board approved the deal, which she said represents a “crossroads” for Sweden. 
“Either we allow racism to dictate the conditions or we come together to defend a solidaric and democratic world,” she said. 
Lövin said the four-party agreement would effectively freeze out right-wing and populist forces, an apparent reference to the Sweden Democrats. It was the refusal of The Centre and the Liberals to back a government made up of their centre-right allies with support from the Sweden Democrats that paved the way for Friday’s agreement. 
Green Party spokesman Gustav Fridolin echoed Lövin’s sentiments, saying that the party had worked hard to find a solution in the political centre. 
“While country after country has fallen for right-wing populism, Sweden is choosing a different path,” he said at Sunday’s press conference. 
It is expected that the new government would consist of the Social Democrats and the Green Party, with the Centre Party and the Liberals offering “passive support” by abstaining from Wednesday’s scheduled vote on installing Löfven as prime minister. 
Sweden's system of negative parliamentarianism means a proposed government does not technically need a single vote in its favour to pass; all that is required is that a majority does not vote against it.
With the Green Party’s formal approval, all eyes will now turn to the Liberals, who are expected to make a decision later on Sunday. 
Another open question is how the Left Party will respond to the four-party deal. Even with the votes from the Social Democrats and Green Party, and the Centre and Liberal's abstentions, the suggested government would need Left Party support in order to pass a parliamentary vote.
The four-party agreement explicitly states that the Left Party “will not have influence over the political direction in Sweden during the coming term”. 
The Left Party has not yet publicly stated its position to the proposal.


Sweden’s right-wing parties agree to bring back Norlén as Speaker 

The four parties backing Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson as prime minister on Sunday announced that they had agreed to keep the current Speaker, Andreas Norlén in place, when the role is put to a vote as parliament opens on Monday.

Sweden's right-wing parties agree to bring back Norlén as Speaker 

The parties won a three-seat majority over the bloc led by the incumbent Social Democrats in Sweden’s general election on September 11th, and are currently in the middle of negotiating how they will form Sweden’s next government. 

Sweden’s parliament meets at 11am for the official installation of the 349 MPs for this mandate period. The votes for the Speaker and three Deputy Speakers are the first item on the agenda, after which the parties each select their parliamentary leaders and then vote on who should chair each of the parliamentary committees. 

READ ALSO: What happens next as parliament reopens? 

In a joint press release announcing the decision, the parties also agreed that the Sweden Democrats would be given eight of the 16 chairmanships the bloc will have of parliamentary committees in the next parliament, and that MPs for all four parties would back Julia Kronlid, the Sweden Democrats’ Second Deputy Leader, as the second deputy Speaker, serving under Norlén. 

In the press release, the parties said that Norlén had over the last four years shown that he has “the necessary personal qualities and qualifications which the role requires”. 

The decision to retain Norlén, who presided over the 134 days of talks and parliamentary votes that led to the January Agreement in 2019, was praised by Social Democrat leader Magdalena Andersson. 

Norlén, she said in a statement, had “managed his responsibilities well over the past four years and been a good representative of Sweden’s Riksdag.” 

The decision to appoint Kronlid was opposed by both the Left Party and the Green Party, who said that she supported tightening abortion legislation, and did not believe in evolution.

The Green Party’s joint leader Märta Stenevi said that her party “did not have confidence in Julia Kronlid”, pointing to an interview she gave in 2014 when she said she did not believe that humans were descended from apes.

The party has proposed its finance spokesperson Janine Alm Ericson as a rival candidate. 

The Left Party said it was planning to vote for the Centre Party’s candidate for the post second deputy Speaker in the hope of blocking Kronlid as a candidate.