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POLITICS

Stefan Löfven’s new cabinet: Who’s in and who’s out?

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven is set to reveal who will be part of his new government today, marking the end of a record-long wait after a general election.

Stefan Löfven's new cabinet: Who's in and who's out?
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven with his wife Ulla on Friday. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Löfven is to address parliament later on Monday morning, and present his new coalition government with ministers representing his Social Democrats and the Green Party.

TIMELINE: Everything that has happened since the Swedish election

Three of the most recognizable names expected to stay on as ministers in the new term are Social Democrats Foreign Minister Margot Wallström, Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist and Labour Market Minister Ylva Johansson, according to Swedish news agency TT.

Another three are leaving their posts and will need to be replaced. They are Education Minister Gustav Fridolin who is standing down as Green Party leader, Social Democrat Migration Minister Heléne Fritzon and Culture and Democracy Minister Alice Bah Kuhnke of the Greens, who are both running for the European Parliament in that election in May.

Some of the ex-ministers rumoured to be on the shortlist for a potential return to cabinet are Anders Ygeman (forced out as interior minister in 2017 over an IT leak at Sweden's Transport Agency) and Aida Hadzialic (who chose to resign in 2016 after she was caught driving while slightly over the limit), both Social Democrats.

Sweden has never before gone this long without a new government after an election.

POLITICS Q&A: Who has been running Sweden since the election?

The 131-day deadlock only ended when Löfven struck a cross-bloc deal with the Centre and Liberal parties, who will allow him to govern in exchange for slightly more right-wing economic policies.

Some of the proposals in the deal include abolishing rent controls on newly built apartments, and introducing language and civics tests for would-be citizens.

FOR MEMBERS: What does Sweden's government deal mean for internationals?

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2022 SWEDISH ELECTION

What’s the Swedish Christian Democrats’ abortion contract all about?

Ebba Busch, leader of Sweden's Christian Democrats on Monday presented an "abortion contract", which she wants all of Sweden's party leaders to sign. What's going on?

What's the Swedish Christian Democrats' abortion contract all about?

What’s happened? 

Ebba Busch, leader of Sweden’s Christian Democrat party, called a press conference on Monday in which she presented a document that she called “an abortion contract”, which was essentially a pledge to safeguard the right of women in Sweden to have an abortion.  

“There is room for signatures from all eight party leaders,” she said. “I have already signed on behalf of the Christian Democrats.” 

What does the so-called “abortion contract” say? 

The document itself is fairly uncontroversial.

It states simply that Sweden’s law on abortion dates back to 1974, and that it grants women the right to an abortion up until the 18th week of pregnancy, with women seeking abortions later in their pregnancy required to get permission from the National Board of Health and Welfare. 

“Those of us who have signed this document support Sweden’s abortion legislation and promise to defend it if it comes under attack from forces both within our country and from outside,” the document reads.  

Why have the Christian Democrats produced it? 

The decision of the US Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs Wade, and so allow US states to ban abortion has aroused strong feelings in Sweden, as elsewhere, and Busch is seeking to send a strong signal to distance her own Christian party from the US religious right. 

Abortion has been a recurring issue within the Christian Democrats with several politicians and party members critical of abortion. 

Lars Adaktusson, a Christian Democrat MP, was found by the Dagens Nyheter newspaper to have voted against abortion 22 times when he was a member of the European parliament. 

The party has also in the past campaigned for the right of midwives and other medical professionals who are ethically opposed to abortion not to have to take part in the procedure. 

So why aren’t all the other party leaders signing the document? 

Sweden’s governing Social Democrats, and their Green Party allies, dismissed the contract as a political gimmick designed to help the Christian Democrats distance themselves from elements of their own party critical of abortion. 

“It would perhaps be good if Ebba Busch did some homework within her own party to check that there’s 100 percent support for Sweden’s abortion legislation,” Magdalena Andersson, Sweden’s prime minister, said. “That feels like a more important measure than writing contracts between party leaders and trying to solve it that way.”  

In a debate on Swedish television, Green Party leader Märta Stenevi argued that it would be much more significant if Busch’s own MPs and MEPs all signed the document. 

It wasn’t other party leaders who needed to show commitment to abortion legislation, but “her own MPs, MEPs, and not least her proposed government partners in the Sweden Democrats and even some within the Moderate Party”. 

She said it made her “very very worried” to see that the Christian Democrats needed such a contract. “That’s why I see all this more as a clear sign that we need to move forward with protecting the right to abortion in the constitution,” she said. 

How have the other right-wing parties reacted? 

The other right-wing parties have largely backed Busch, although it’s unclear if any other party leaders are willing to actually sign the document. 

Tobias Billström, the Moderates’ group parliamentary leader, retweeted a tweet from Johan Paccamonti, a Stockholm regional politician with the Moderate Party, which criticised the Social Democrats for not signing it, however. 

“It seems to be more important to blow up a pretend conflict than to sign the Christian Democrats’ contract or look at the issue of [including abortion rights in] the constitution, like the Moderates, Liberals and Centre Party want to,” Paccamonti wrote. 

The Liberal Party on Sunday proposed protecting abortion rights in the Swedish constitution, a proposal which has since been backed by the Moderate party and the Centre Party

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