Sweden's Social Democrats float idea of voting in a Moderate Speaker

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Sweden's Social Democrats float idea of voting in a Moderate Speaker
Andreas Norlén, speaker of Sweden's parliament, takes a question at a press conference. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Sweden's Social Democrats have said they would back a Moderate party candidate as the Speaker of the Riksdag parliament, in a move that seems calculated to complicate the right bloc's government negotiations.


"We would very much like for a broad agreement to be reached around the Speaker," Sweden's outgoing Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper. "This is the second-highest ranking post in the kingdom and the highest elected position." 

The Aftonbladet newspaper reported on Wednesday that the post of Speaker was a key part of the negotiations between the Moderate, Sweden Democrat, Christian Democrat and Liberal parties, with the Sweden Democrats presumably seeking to appoint a senior party figure to the post. 


As the vote is a secret ballot, the newspaper reported, there is concern in the negotiations that enough MPs from the Liberal Party, or even other parties, will break ranks and not vote for the agreed choice. 

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According to Dagens Nyheter, Andersson has already contacted Moderate Party leader to discuss the possibility of having a Moderate Party figure in the post. 

In the past, the Social Democrats have argued that the biggest party in the parliament should have the Speaker position, whereas the Moderates have historically argued that it should be the biggest party in the ruling bloc. 

Andersson said her party would be willing to "make an exception" to its principle. "We think there are arguments at this time, to have a Speaker who can be appointed with very broad support in the parliament. What's important is that it's someone who can bring people together, either a Social Democrat or a Moderate". 

The outgoing Speaker, Andreas Norlén, is popular both within the parliament and outside it, given the steady way he has handled an unusually turbulent two terms.

"I can state that Andreas Norlén enjoys great respect, both in the parliament, and among the Swedish people," she said. "He has handled his duties creditably and during a turbulent time, and a problematic parliamentary situation." 

She said she was offering to discuss the issue with Kristersson to avoid the risk of a Sweden Democrat Speaker, something she said would be "problematic". 

"This is a party whose whole rationale is to split rather than unite. This is also about the picture of Sweden overseas." 


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