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Sweden Prime Minister Ousted by Parliament

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The Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven lost a no-confidence vote in the parliament. He is the first PM in Sweden’s democratic history to be ousted by a vote of no-confidence. He will either resign or announce new elections.

On Monday June 21, 181 members of parliament voted against Stefan Löfven’s government, while 109 voted against the motion of no-confidence, 51 voted blank and 8 were absent. It is the first time in the Swedish democratic history that a government is overthrown like this. Some votes of no-confidence have already been taken but it never reached the majority.

Stefan Löfven, leader of the Social Democratic Party, was Prime Minister since October 2014 and led minority governments for two terms. In January 2019, after the legislative elections and 131 days without a government, the Social Democrats formed a coalition with the Green Party and made one of the weakest minority governments in Sweden’s history. They gathered only 33% of the seats in the Riksdag, the Swedish parliament.

And the vote of no-confidence reunited the Sweden Democrats, a nationalist party, the Left Party, a former communist party, the Moderates, and the Christian Democrats against the government.

The Riksdag
The Riksdag, the Swedish parliament, where members voted against the government formed by Stefan Löfven | Janwikifoto, 2009

A coalition between the left and extreme-right parties

The vote comes after the government proposed to provide more flexibility in the house renting market. In Sweden, the state regulates house renting prices. But the rent of newly-built accommodation was supposed to follow the market. With the new law, some hoped it could have facilitated investment and increased housing offer, which the country lacks of, while others feared it would increase rents.

For the Left Party, which supported the government and granted it a thin majority, it was a clear no and a reason to vote for the motion of no confidence. The Sweden Democrats also joined in the fight, which has enough seats, unlike the Left Party, to call for the vote. Moreover, the Moderates and Christian Democrats were basically against the government and used it as an opportunity to overthrow it, even if they were in favor of the proposal made for satisfying them.

In a press conference on Monday morning, Stefan Löfven regretted the coalition between the left-wing (Left Party) and the extreme-right wing (Sweden Democrats). He also added that the deregulation of the housing market was not supported by the Social Democrats, adding that “everyone must be willing to make compromises“. Stefan Löfven now has the possibility to resign or to announce new legislative elections.

This stretched government hasn’t been able to satisfy all parts but it has eventually gained the majority with the no-confidence vote.

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