Stefan Löfven defends deal with Sweden’s centre-liberal parties

Stefan Löfven defends deal with Sweden's centre-liberal parties
Stefan Löfven speaking to reporters on Monday. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT
Stefan Löfven has defended a deal struck by his Social Democrats, Green Party, Centre Party and Liberals – but refused to comment on its chances of success in parliament.

READ ALSO: All the latest on Sweden's government negotiations

The proposed agreement would allow the Social Democrats and Greens to continue to govern, this time with backing from the Centre and Liberals who have been in opposition for the past four years.

Löfven admitted his Social Democrats had been forced to compromise and make certain concessions to his former centre-right liberal rivals, for example in the area of housing regulations and workers' rights.

“But those are reasonable concessions,” he told reporters on Monday.

He said that his party was behind 57 points in the 73-point deal.

Any potential Swedish government does not need a majority of MPs to vote in its favour in order to govern; the system of negative parliamentarism just requires that a majority does not vote against it.

However, the Social Democrats, Greens, Centre and Liberals together have 167 seats, which means they do not have a majority among parliament's 349 members.

Assuming that the right-wing parties – the Moderates, Christian Democrats and Sweden Democrats – will vote against the deal, this means that Löfven needs the Left Party's 28 MPs to either vote in favour or abstain in Wednesday's prime minister vote in order to avoid a majority of 'no' votes.

This is far from guaranteed, since the deal explicitly states that the Left Party, traditionally a partner of the Social Democrats in parliament, “will not have influence over the political direction in Sweden during the coming term”.

The sentence has been interpreted as an insult, which Löfven said he understood. He stressed that he had appreciated working together with the Left Party, who were involved in budget negotiations during the last term, but that it had been important to the centre-liberal parties to stake out a new political course.

“It's not like they're excluded from all political influence,” he added, saying that it would be possible to cooperate with the Left Party on political issues not included in the four-party agreement.

News agency TT reported over the weekend that the Left was “leaning towards a no”, citing anonymous sources, and the Left Party's Malmö board has already reported its decision to vote 'no' to Löfven.

“The agreement that has been made between the Social Democrats, Centre, Liberals and Green Party is a purely right-wing political project,” a statement on the Left Party's Malmö website said. “We have visions of a completely different society, and that's what we're going to work for.”

Left Party leader Jonas Sjöstedt will hold a press conference after meeting with Norlén at 11.40am, at which point he is expected to reveal his party's decision. The meetings appear to be running slightly behind schedule, though, so we may have to wait a bit longer to find out.

Parliamentary speaker Andreas Norlén will announce the new candidate for prime minister on Monday afternoon, after meeting with the leaders of the different parties during the day, beginning with Löfven.

The chosen candidate will then face a parliamentary vote on Wednesday, which will be the third time such a vote has been held since the September 9th election. Both Löfven and Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson have previously been rejected by parliament.

If Löfven is proposed as prime minister and fails to pass the parliamentary vote, Norlén has said that a fourth and final vote on a PM candidate – likely Kristersson – would take place before the end of January. However, this could be postponed if the speaker believes that more time will allow the parties to reach a workable compromise.

If both votes are unsuccessful, Sweden must hold another general election, which will have to take place on a Sunday within three months of the final prime ministerial vote.

To catch up with everything that has happened since the election, CLICK HERE. And if you have any questions about the process, log in to comment below.

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  1. This is so funny, they are running in circles trying to form a government because they don’t want to work with the SD who have been voted in by the people…
    the more they refuse to work with SD the more likely we are going to have new snap elections, if we do have snap elections SD is poised to take even more votes from the main parties which will make SD stronger, we are coming in for fun times any way you look at it :))

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