Moderate Party leader tasked with negotiating Sweden's next government

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Moderate Party leader tasked with negotiating Sweden's next government
Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson sits down for a talk with Andreas Norlén, speaker of the Swedish parliament. Photo: Anders Wiklund / TT

The speaker of Sweden's parliament has nominated Ulf Kristersson as his first candidate for prime minister, meaning the Moderate party leader now must strike deal with the far-right Sweden Democrats and other parties to pass a vote in parliament.


Andreas Norlén, Speaker of Sweden's Parliament, said at a press conference on Monday afternoon that after holding talks with the leaders of all eight of Sweden's parliamentary parties he had identified Kristersson as the one most likely to be voted in by parliament as Prime Minister. 

"This has been a pretty simple decision to make," he said. "The information I have received is that the negotiations, as the party leaders have said earlier today, are continuing to be carried out in a good spirit, and that they hope to reach a result." 


Under Sweden's system of negative parliamentarianism, a prime ministerial candidate needs only to convince a majority of members of parliament not to vote against them. 

As the four parties who campaigned in this month's election with a promise to back Kristersson as Prime Minister secured 176 of parliament's mandates to the left bloc's 173, he should be able to do this as long as his disparate coalition can agree on who should be in the new government and what policies it should have. 

Norlén noted that Kristersson was the 35th person to be nominated by the Speaker to form a new government and that this was the 33rd new government to be built, and the fifth in the turbulent parliamentary period that he had presided over as speaker. 

He said that he was not giving Kristersson a deadline to complete the task as he felt that should be the responsibility of his successor as Speaker, who will be chosen by MPs on Monday when the new parliament sits for the first time. 

He said he did not, however, expect the process to take as long as in 2018, when it took until January to form a new government. 

"I do not believe that it is going to take 134 days this time," he said. 

Norlén made his decision after meeting seven of the eight leaders of the country's parliamentary parties in a succession of one-to-one meetings over coffee and biscuits. 

After the meeting, Kristersson declared that he wanted to create a government "for all Swedes". 

"My message to the Speaker was that the negotiations are going well, that they cover all issues, that they cover everything around the political direction of a new government, and that they cover the ability to cooperate in parliament," he said. "These are very broad negotiations and nothing is ready until it's ready." 

The most obvious task for Kristersson in the ongoing talks is to bridge the gap between the ambition of the far-right Sweden Democrats to be part of the government coalition and the reluctance of the other three parties to include them. 

The Moderates and the Christian Democrats have expressed a wish to be part of a two-party coalition together, while the Liberal party votes at its national congress that the party would not support a government that included the Sweden Democrats. 


After his talk with Norlèn, Jimmie Åkesson, leader of the Sweden Democrats reiterated his preference for being included in the government.

But he also said that for him and his party, the overriding priority would be to get as many of their policies as possible into the coming government's programme. 

"Sweden would be in a better condition with a majority government," he said on the issue of whether his party should be in the coalition. "

But he added: "For me, personally, and for my party, the policies are what are most important." 


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