Sweden’s Lofven Wins Parliament Backing to Form New Cabinet
(Bloomberg) -- Sweden’s interim Prime Minister Stefan Lofven won a narrow vote in parliament to form a new coalition government as he seeks to keep the far-right from gaining influence in the largest Nordic nation.
Lofven, 63, resigned as prime minister just three weeks ago, following a no-confidence vote triggered by a plan to deregulate rental housing. The vote on Wednesday doesn’t necessarily end his political troubles even as it adds to his track record of surviving seemingly intractable conflicts.
His Social Democrats will control about a third of the seats in parliament in the coalition with the Green Party. The former union leader and welder needs to hold his shaky coalition together and push a budget proposal through parliament in the fall. If he fails, he has vowed to resign again, possibly sparking Sweden’s first snap elections since 1958.
“The situation in parliament is still very difficult,” Lofven told reporters after the vote, adding “it has been an unusual time” in Swedish politics.
The turmoil reflects Sweden’s shifting political landscape, which was once dominated by two stable blocs. The emergence of a right-wing, anti-immigration party has upended traditional politics and tested traditional alliances.
Lofven’s new center-left minority government was backed by 116 lawmakers, with 60 abstaining and 173 being against it. That means Lofven won by 2 votes as he needed to avoid an absolute majority opposing his nomination.
The nationalist Sweden Democrats, once universally shunned for its neo-Nazi roots, have been accepted as a potential partner by traditional conservative parties, narrowing Lofven’s path to power.
Recent opinion polls indicate that the opposition parties, including the Sweden Democrats, would get a narrow majority of votes if elections were held today. The next national ballot is scheduled for September 2022.
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