Crucial week ahead as Sweden edges closer to a new government

Crucial week ahead as Sweden edges closer to a new government
Will Stefan Löfven (left, with parliamentary speaker Andreas Norlén) stay on as prime minister? Photo: Henrik Montgomery / TT
Sweden's parliamentary speaker will nominate a prime ministerial candidate on Monday, but it is still not clear if this will mark an end to the political deadlock that has dragged on for more than four months.

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

On Friday, a government deal between four parties was announced that would see Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven stay on as prime minister.

Under that agreement, the Social Democrats and Green Party would govern with backing from the Centre and Liberal parties. The latter two parties have been part of the centre-right Alliance in opposition to the Social Democrat-Green coalition for the past four years.

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.

READ ALSO: Everything that's happened in Swedish politics since the election

Any potential Swedish government does not need a majority of MPs to vote in its favour in order to govern; the system of negative parliamentarianism instead just requires that a majority does not vote against it. This system, which favours the formation of minority governments, means that parties can give 'passive support' such as abstaining in the prime ministerial vote, allowing the government to pass.

Over the weekend, the boards of the Centre Party, Green Party and Liberals all voted in favour of adopting the deal.

But even with the four-party deal, a Social Democrat-Green government would also need the Left Party's support. Together, the Social Democrats, Green Party, Centre and Liberals have 167 seats, and need the Left Party's 28 MPs to either vote in favour of the proposed government or abstain in order to avoid a majority of 'no' votes.

This is far from guaranteed, since the four-party agreement explicitly states that the Left Party “will not have influence over the political direction in Sweden during the coming term”.

News agency TT reported over the weekend that the party 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 11.40, at which point he is expected to reveal his party's decision.

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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