Political crisis in Sweden: After a successful vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, he is now stepping down. However, the 63-year-old is hoping for a quick comeback.
One week after a vote of no confidence in parliament, the Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven submitted his resignation. The 63-year-old head of the Social Democrats said at a press conference on Monday: “In view of the extraordinary situation in which the country is in with the ongoing pandemic and the special challenges associated with it, a new election is not the best for Sweden.” After the vote of no confidence, Löfven had a week to choose between resigning and re-election.
Parliament’s President Andreas Norlén will now initiate the search for a candidate who will be commissioned to form a new government. So Stefan Löfven could get another chance. “I am available to lead a government that the Reichstag can tolerate,” said Löfven. He left it open with which parties he wanted to form a coalition. The head of the moderates, Ulf Kristersson, is also working to gather a majority for a civic alliance.
Löfven ruled Sweden since 2014
Last Monday, a majority in the Reichstag in Stockholm expressed their distrust of Löfven and thus overthrew him and his government. It was the first time that a prime minister in Sweden was brought down by a vote of no confidence. The vote was requested by the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats. With them, the moderates and the Christian Democrats, the Left Party had also opposed the head of government. The reason for the action of the left was a dispute over a proposal to liberalize the rental market for new buildings.
Löfven has ruled Sweden since 2014. Since the beginning of 2019, he has been supported by a red-green minority government, which, after tough negotiations, has reached an agreement on cooperation with the Center Party and the Liberals. In addition, he was dependent on support from the left in parliament.
Confident of a quick comeback?
The next regular parliamentary election in Sweden is scheduled for September 2022. It will take place regardless of whether a new election is held in the meantime or not.
The fact that Löfven has now decided to resign could be a signal of his confidence in a quick comeback. If he manages to unite the left and the center behind him in addition to the votes of the Social Democrats and Greens, he would have 175 votes together – exactly as many as are necessary for a majority in the 349-seat Stockholm Reichstag.
For a long time there had been two roughly equally strong camps in Swedish politics: a left-wing led by the Social Democrats and a bourgeois one led by the moderates. Since the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats have gained strength, however, forming a government has become much more difficult. The tough negotiations two and a half years ago were a result of this. The collaboration was ultimately agreed across the traditional block boundaries – and now ended very quickly.