| 20 May 2024, Monday |

Sweden’s Lofven is given next shot at forming a new government

On Thursday, Sweden’s Caretaker Prime Minister Stefan Lofven was tasked with building a new government after the country’s right-wing opposition leader claimed he had not received enough parliamentary votes to become prime minister.

The Left Party abandoned its backing for Social Democrat Lofven’s weak centre-left minority administration this month, triggering a no-confidence vote in parliament over plans to relax some rent controls on housing.

Parliamentary Speaker Andreas Norlen invited him to form a new administration hours after opposition leader Ulf Kristersson abandoned his own attempt. It had become clear that lawmakers would not support his premiership, despite last-ditch efforts to win over centrists with spending pledges.

“I spoke with Prime Minister Stefan Lofven this morning on the phone and assigned him the duty of exploring the options for a new government,” Norlen said at a press conference.

Lofven will submit his report to the speaker by Monday at the latest, and a vote in parliament might take place a few days later, according to Norlen.

“My answer remains that the Social Democrats and I, together with other constructive forces, are ready to carry the duty of guiding the country forward,” the interim prime minister stated on social media.

The collapse of the government has reignited turmoil seen in the wake of the 2018 election, where gains by the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats redrew the political landscape, leaving Lofven needing months to hammer out a workable, if precarious, coalition.

The government had wanted to ease Sweden’s rigid system for rent control, a form of collective bargaining, to boost the building of new apartments. The Left party claimed it would lead to increased rent for Sweden’s 3 million tenants.

After moving away from those ideas, Lofven may have enough support for his premiership to be authorized by parliament, but it will be insufficient to ensure approval of his budgets unless a new agreement is reached amongst a diverse group of parties.

He must avoid an absolute majority of deputies voting against his candidacy in order to be elected.

It will be the first vote called by the speaker in an attempt to establish a new government; if four attempts fail, snap elections will be held.

  • Reuters