Political crisis in Sweden: Prime Minister prefers resignation to elections

Overturned by an unprecedented vote of no confidence a week ago, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven on Monday preferred the option of resignation rather than that of early elections, opening a new phase of negotiations and political uncertainties.

Under the Nordic country’s Constitution, it is now up to the Speaker of Parliament to lead discussions to try to find a new head of government among the possible options, including a reappointment of Stefan Löfven, in office since 2014.

“One year before the usual elections, given the extraordinary situation in which the country finds itself, with an ongoing pandemic and the particular challenges that this would entail, early elections are not the best for the community. Sweden ”, justified the Social Democratic leader at a press conference.

“I do not believe that the Swedish people want additional elections,” he insisted, recalling that the ballot would be in addition to the elections already scheduled for September 2022.

The opening of a new phase of parliamentary discussions is not synonymous with success, as the balances in the Swedish Parliament, the Riksdag, complicate the construction of a majority.

In the event of failure of the mission of the president of the chamber, the scenario of early elections would reappear.

It is a politically sensitive and symbolically explosive subject in Sweden which had caused the fall of the government of the former steelworker trade unionist: regulated rents, from which many Swedes benefit.

The Left Party had completed its ultimatum to vote defiance with the right-wing and far-right opposition if the executive did not give up on a price liberalization project.

The seven days of negotiations led by Stefan Löfven to try to find a new majority in his favor only ended in dead ends.

Majority not found

Known for his talent to get out of inextricable situations, the Social Democratic leader has not succeeded this time in resolving a solution which is a priori insoluble.

The right, led by the Moderates of Ulf Kristersson, is for the first time ready to lean on the anti-immigration far-right of the Democrats of Sweden to return to the orders, but would lack support at the center to have a majority .

As for Stefan Löfven, his Center Party ally, Annie Lööf, refuses to see the far left playing too big a role. And one of its allies so far, the small Liberal party, is now pushing for a right-wing government.

Many couplings are possible, but none is necessary, stress analysts.

The process can also be slow: the Speaker of Parliament, Andreas Norlén, will have to consult each party first before proposing a new prime minister.

A process that had taken… 115 days after the last elections in 2018, even if Andreas Norlén this time assured that he would not let things drag on.

“I think the country must get out of political uncertainty as quickly as possible,” added Stefan Löfven on Monday.

Constitutionally, the president of the chamber can successively present four proposals, requiring not to be blocked by an absolute majority, that is to say 175 people.

In the meantime, the government remains in place but is reduced to dealing with current affairs.

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