Government shake-up: Here are Sweden’s two new ministers

Stefan Löfven announced two new government minister roles on Tuesday, after the minister for social security's sudden departure.

Government shake-up: Here are Sweden's two new ministers
Stefan Löfven (centre) announced that Lena Micko (left) and Ardalan Shekarabi would take up new roles in the government. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Social Democrat Ardalan Shekarabi has moved from his post as minister for public administration to become the new social security minister. 

“One of his primary tasks will be working hard for our country's pensioners,” said Prime Minister Stefan Löfven at a press conference of Shekarabi's new role.

Former Minister for Social Security Annika Strandhäll announced she was leaving the post on Monday, following the death of her partner.

Shekarabi was born in Manchester in 1978 but grew up in Iran. His family fled to Sweden in 1989 where their asylum application was initially rejected. After living in hiding for a period of time they were eventually granted asylum on humanitarian grounds in 1991.

And Lena Micko, previously head of the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKL), will replace Shekarabi as minister for public administration. Micko was born in Umeå but has lived long-term in Linköping, where she has also held the post of deputy mayor.

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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.