Sweden’s centre-right opposition and the far right ousted Prime Minister Stefan Lofven in a vote of no-confidence yesterday, as the left and right blocs wrangle over who can form a new government after neither won a majority in September 9 elections.
Lofven’s departure was widely anticipated.
Since election night the head of the four-party centre-right Alliance, Ulf Kristersson, has insisted he intends to try to form a government.
With neither bloc able to build a majority, the far-right, anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, who won almost 18 percent of votes in the election and are the country’s third-biggest party, have demanded to be given influence over Swedish politics in exchange for support in parliament.
But neither the left nor right has been willing to negotiate with the Sweden Democrats. “Sweden needs a new government that has broad political support to undertake reforms,” Kristersson told parliament moments before the confidence vote yesterday.
A total of 204 of 349 members of parliament voted against Lofven, while 142 voted in favour.
The Dagens Nyheter newspaper said in an editorial Tuesday that Sweden’s fragmented political landscape, the slow decline of social democracy and the rise of political extremes had pushed the traditionally stable and consensus-oriented country into “unknown territory”.
Parliament wrote a “new page in Sweden’s political history” by voting out a prime minister without an alternative ready to govern, wrote the country’s other main newspaper, Svenska Dagbladet.
The speaker of parliament, Andreas Norlen, will begin talks tomorrow with the leaders of the eight parties represented in parliament to determine who is best placed to form the next government.
Norlen, a member of Kristersson’s conservative Moderate Party, is widely expected to task Kristersson with the job. But the road ahead is tricky.
A collaboration with the Sweden Democrats would give the Alliance the majority it needs, but since that option is unthinkable for two Alliance parties, the Liberals and the Centre, Kristersson has so far refused to go down that route.