Swedish Social Democratic Prime Minister Stefan Löfven resigns. His coalition government with the Greens was overthrown a week ago in a historic motion. Löfven lost the confidence of the Left Party by proposing the liberalization of rent prices. Until now, this third party tolerated the measures of the red-green government with its abstentions.
After a week of margin to decide, the prime minister has preferred to resign to summon anticipated elections. According to the Social Democrat, elections would not be the best for Sweden in the current pandemic conditions.
In addition, they would not prevent the generals from being held again in September 2022. So he will remain in office as interim prime minister until further negotiations take place and a new government can be formed.
Löfven himself is expected to spearhead the new talks as Sweden’s largest party in Parliament with 100 out of 349 seats. But the pacts are going to be complicated. The different formations that make up the Parliament have new ambitions and the last negotiations that took place lasted four months.
The Swedish Constitution states that there must be elections every four years, regardless of whether extraordinary elections may be called in the middle of that period, a provision that explains why early elections are so rare in this country.
“My estimation is that the Swedes do not want an extraordinary election now. They hope that politicians can solve these kinds of situations,” has appointed Löfven.
Although the President of Parliament has declined to make statements for the time being, in previous days he had indicated his intention that the negotiation process would proceed more quickly than last time if Löfven were to resign.
“I hope it is resolved as quickly as possible. We all want to go on vacation, but we must also respect that a hard job awaits us,” said Jimmie Åkesson, leader of the far-right Sweden Democrats (SD), with 62 MPs, in front of the 70 of the Conservatives and 100 Social Democrats.
A historic motion
Löfven became the first Swedish head of government to be overthrown by a vote of no confidence a week ago, something that was possible because the Left Party, an external ally of the prime minister, added its votes to those of the extreme right, the conservatives and the Christian Democrats.
The Left Party, outside the government pact to which it gave a majority with its votes, had warned in 2019 that it would withdraw its support if it fulfilled two points of the agreement with centrists and liberals: the reforms of the labor market and the rent regime.
The cause of the motion was the project advocated by the centrists that the rents of new properties cease to be regulated and could be agreed according to market value.
During the week since the motion, the centrists withdrew the proposal and the Left offered to support a new agreement.
However, the refusal of the centrists to agree with ex-communists or with the SD, as well as the decision of the liberals to return to the center-right bloc, made a solution to the situation impossible.
Blockade to the extreme right
The root of the problem is linked to the vacuum that the rest of the forces have made to the SD since it entered Parliament in 2010, which has allowed Löfven to govern since 2014 despite not having a majority.
Conservatives and Christian Democrats modified their position a year ago and agreed to govern in the future with the support of the SD, an option to which the Liberal Party has opened, although among the four they do not have a majority.
Löfven could have it, in the hypothetical case of reaching an agreement that satisfies both centrists and the Left, which today he accused of causing the crisis, but it would depend on the vote of a defector from the latter formation.
However, having a majority in favor is not an essential requirement in Sweden to be elected prime minister, it is enough not to have a majority against. That was precisely what allowed Löfven to be elected in 2019 with the abstention of the Left.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.