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POLITICS

Swedish parliament to vote on Stefan Löfven as prime minister

Acting Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, who was ousted last month in a historic no-confidence vote, will get a new chance at convincing the Swedish parliament to accept his government.

Swedish parliament to vote on Stefan Löfven as prime minister
Parliamentary speaker Andreas Norlén and acting Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. Photo: Stefan Jerrevång/TT

The speaker of parliament, Andreas Norlén, told a press conference on Monday that he would nominate Social Democrat leader Löfven as prime minister, after opposition rival Ulf Kristersson of the Moderate Party last week failed in his attempts to form a new government.

This means parliament on Wednesday will vote on whether or not to reinstate Löfven as prime minister. If successful, the centre-left leader would then be able to step back into the role on Friday.

What may seem like a political game of musical chairs comes after Löfven lost a vote of no confidence on June 21st, following a row with the Left Party over rental laws. Löfven then resigned, triggering a round of talks between party leaders and the speaker, who has the role of proposing prime minister candidates based on an assessment of what a government backed by a parliamentary majority could look like.

If Löfven is voted back in, it will likely be with a wafer-thin margin. He will need 175 members of parliament to either vote for him or abstain (in other words, a prime minister candidate does not need a majority to vote for them, as long as the majority does not vote against them).

But the Swedish parliament is split almost right down the middle. Including independent members closely linked to their former parties, the parties on the right of the spectrum (the Moderates, Christian Democrats, Liberals and Sweden Democrats) together have 174 seats, while the parties to the left (the Social Democrats, Green Party, and Left Party) reach a total of 175 with the support of the Centre Party.

It would only take one person choosing to go against party lines, or indeed to be absent for the vote, for the balance to shift.

And even if Löfven is successful on Wednesday, he will likely have a rocky year ahead of him in the run-up to Sweden’s next general election in September 2022. He has not yet secured support for his autumn budget, with the Centre Party refusing to collaborate with the government’s other potential allies in the Left Party on a budget. Löfven has said he will again resign if his budget proposal falls.

You can catch up with Sweden’s government crisis in The Local’s articles below, or by listening to our podcast Sweden in Focus.

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POLITICS

Koran burnings by Danish far-Right extremist no longer causing riots, Swedish police say

Swedish police said there have been no disturbances associated with the Koran burning by Danish far-Right extremist Rasmus Paludan and his party Stram Kurs ("Hard Line") this week around Stockholm, unlike the riots seen over Easter.

Koran burnings by Danish far-Right extremist no longer causing riots, Swedish police say

Paludan and his party have been holding demonstrations this week involving burning the Koran, in what Paludan describes as an “election tour” ahead of standing in Sweden’s parliamentary election in September.

However Swedish newswire TT has reported that few people have seemed to care about the shock tactics used and police have confirmed that no major disturbances have occurred as a result of the demonstrations.

This is in stark contrast to the demonstrations over Easter, which resulted in riots involving vandalism and violence aimed primarily at police. A total of 26 police officers were injured and at least 40 people were arrested.

“The police did not anticipate the extent of the protests and the enormous violence that the Easter riots brought with them. I don’t know if we have seen anything similar in Sweden in modern times,” Sten Widmalm, political scientist at Uppsala University, told newswire TT.

Widmalm says there are now fewer people turning up at Paludan’s demonstrations because of the number of people charged over the Easter riots. He also noted the increased police presence and adapted resources by the police, which has stopped anyone getting close to using violence.

Everyone that TT newswire spoke to a demonstration in Fittja torg, said they knew Paludan’s aim was to provoke people.

“I am a Muslim myself and I don’t care. For a true Muslim, all religions are equal. His message is to create conflict and irritation. You shouldn’t give him that,” Himmet Kaya told TT. 

According to Widmalm, there is nothing to indicate that Paludan will be successful at the Swedish election.

“On the other hand, I think that Stram Kurs has influenced Swedish politics very much in such a way that it has exposed large gaps in society. I think awareness of these has increased, due to the Easter riots – although it’s nothing to thank Paludan for.”

In Sweden, you must be a Swedish citizen in order to be elected to parliament. Paludan’s father is Swedish, and he applied for and was granted Swedish citizenship in 2020.

In order to enter the Swedish parliament, Paludan must win at least four percent of the vote in the upcoming election.

In 2019, Paludan stood in Danish parliamentary elections, achieving only 1.8 percent of the vote. Under Denmark’s proportional representation system, parties must achieve at least two percent of the vote in order to enter the Danish parliament.

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