All of Sweden’s 349 members of parliament are now welcome to return to parliament after the speaker, Andreas Norlén, decided to lift pandemic restrictions. Until today, only 55 MPs have been permitted in the chamber, in order to avoid crowding.
The opening ceremony will however still be adapted to the pandemic with fewer guests and neither a mingle nor the traditional concert at Stockholm’s Concert Hall afterwards.
Norlén started the day by welcoming MPs back to the chamber at 10.45am. The formal opening ceremony started at 2pm with King Carl XVI Gustaf – who does not hold any political power – declaring the first parliamentary session of the year open.
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After that, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven read his declaration of government, in which he spoke about the policies the government will pursue in the coming months. It was Löfven’s last such speech before he retires in November, ten months before the election. You can read the full speech in English here.
Löfven himself will step down as party leader and prime minister at the Social Democrats’ party conference on November 3rd-7th. Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson is widely tipped to take over as party leader after Löfven, with no viable opponents.
She will then have to be approved by parliament to become prime minister. This will require either ‘yes’ votes or abstentions from at least 175 members of parliament.
The new prime minister will then have to present a new declaration of government to parliament once she or he has assumed the position and revealed the new cabinet.
Sweden’s next general election will be held on September 11th, 2022.