June deal? Sweden’s government in cross-party talks to find a new majority

June deal? Sweden's government in cross-party talks to find a new majority
Green Party spokesperson Märta Stenevi, pictured walking to the no-confidence vote with Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, said a 'June deal' could be in the works between the government, Centre and Left parties. Photo: Nils Petter Nilsson/TT
Sweden's Social Democrats have been speaking to other political parties in an attempt to work out a compromise after the government collapsed due to a no-confidence motion uniting parties from the left and right of Swedish politics.

The executive committee of the Social Democrat party, currently the main partner of a governing coalition with the Greens, had a virtual meeting on Tuesday to discuss a way forward.

The Prime Minister has until Tuesday next week to announce whether he will call an election or if he will leave his post. In the latter case, the speaker of parliament would begin cross-party talks to find a possible government backed by a majority of MPs.

“I think the Swedish people expect us to take the time we need,” said Social Democrat Minister of Justice and Migration Morgan Johansson, who is on the committee. But he would not comment on whether Löfven would announce the decision this week or wait until after the Midsummer holiday weekend.

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Nor did he comment on a statement made by the Liberal Party following the no-confidence vote, that they wanted to pursue a right-of-centre government rather than continuing as a ‘support party’ of the centre-left. This statement was not entirely unexpected, after a party board vote earlier this year when the Liberals backed a decision (by a slight majority) from leader Nyamko Sabuni to campaign alongside the right-of-centre bloc even if meant cooperating with the Sweden Democrats.

The government has already held talks with the Centre and Left Party, Green Party spokesperson Märta Stenevi, who is also Minister for Housing and Gender Equality, told public broadcaster SVT

The viability of a centre-left government hinges on these two parties reaching a compromise, though the Centre Party has previously said it will not cooperate with the Left. Leader Annie Lööf has also ruled out backing a government that relies on Sweden Democrat support, which would be the case if she resumed working with her former allies the Moderates, Christian Democrats and Liberals.

Stenevi told SVT that she envisages a ‘June Agreement’ between the government, Centre and Left to replace the current ‘January Deal’ where the government agreed on policy points with the Centre and Liberal parties in exchange for their support.

Even without the Liberal Party, the government would command a wafer thin majority with the support of the Centre and Left.

“We have negotiated the budget with the Centre Party and with the Left in different attempts. And I see that we have similarities that we could agree on. I see that we could work together on climate and environment, I see that we could work together on gender equality. Then I also know that there are issues where we are far apart. But if you have not sat down and tried, it is difficult to know if you could have made progress,” the Green Party spokesperson said.

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