Tuesday 23 July 2019

Swedish political deadlock ended after MPs approve minority government

The move ends a four-month impasse.

Social Democrat leader Stefan Lofven (AP)
Social Democrat leader Stefan Lofven (AP)

By Associated Press Reporters

Swedish MPs have approved a centre-left minority government led by caretaker prime minister Stefan Lofven, ending a four-month political deadlock.

The vote in parliament was 153-115 in favour of Mr Lofven, with 77 abstentions.

His own Social Democrats and the Greens backed him, with the centre-right bloc voting against the arrangement in Friday’s ballot. Three smaller parties abstained.

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The move ends a four-month impasse (AP)

In Sweden, a prime minister can govern as long as there is no majority against him or her.

Swedish politicians have been trying to form a government without the Sweden Democrats, which has neo-Nazi roots.

Parties have refused to cooperate with Sweden’s third-largest party, which made great strides in the September 9 national election.

Jan Bjorklund of the Liberals, whose party supported Mr Lofven by abstaining, noted “how racist and populist parties have strengthened their positions across the world”.

He cited US president Donald Trump, France’s National Rally led by Marine le Pen and Hungary’s nationalist prime minister Viktor Orban as examples.

“We have chosen another path,” he said.

Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Akesson, who had hoped for more political influence, repeatedly used the word “absurd” to describe the coalition talks.

“My ambition now is that the Sweden Democrats will be a dominating forced in a new strong centre-right opposition,” he said.

“It will be a tough four-year period,” Mr Lofven told a news conference, adding “Sweden is getting a powerful government that is not dependent on the Sweden Democrats”.

The September election produced a hung parliament with the left-leaning side and the centre-right bloc securing about 40% of the vote each, leaving neither with a majority and paving the way for months of complex coalition talks.

To get the support from two centre-right parties, Mr Lofven had to compromise over labour laws, causing irritation from his party’s union backers and the Left Party.

Mr Lofven who heads Sweden’s largest party but has no majority, will present his government and start his second term as prime minister on Monday.

PA Media

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