Swedish government withdraws bid to scrap rent controls on newbuilds

The government has retracted a proposal to change Sweden’s rental laws, after the bid sparked a historic, albeit brief, ousting of centre-left Prime Minister Stefan Löfven.

Swedish government withdraws bid to scrap rent controls on newbuilds
Stefan Löfven returned as prime minister last week. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Justice Minister Morgan Johansson told Swedish news agency TT on Thursday that the government’s consultation document had been withdrawn because the joint proposal to scrap rent controls on certain newbuilds in Sweden would no longer be going ahead.

The proposal – which had been pushed through by the Social Democrat-Green coalition government’s partners in parliament, the Liberals and the Centre Party – sparked a row with the Left Party last month which eventually led to a no-confidence vote against Löfven.

After Löfven became the first prime minister in Swedish history to lose such a vote, the Centre Party dropped the demand in order to try to placate the Left Party and avoid the threat of a snap election.

Meanwhile, the Liberals acted on a previous pledge not to support Löfven past his term as prime minister, and abandoned their collaboration with the government, which eventually prompted the Centre Party to do the same.

Löfven himself was voted back in as prime minister on July 7th, just a couple of weeks later, after the conservative opposition failed to mount a viable challenge. But the breakdown of the deal with the Centre Party and Liberals means that the Social Democrats no longer have to introduce new rental laws which the party does not support, so they are now off the table – at least until the next general election in 2022.

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Swedish MEP comes forward as accuser in Christian Democrat ‘me-too’ case

Sara Skyttedal, a leading Christian Democrat MEP, has come forward as the woman who reported party secretary Johan Ingerö to the police, leading to his sudden dismissal on Tuesday.

Swedish MEP comes forward as accuser in Christian Democrat 'me-too' case

Johan Ingerö, the Christian Democrat policy advisor who helped develop its harder, more populist approach, was dismissed on Tuesday after Skyttedal reported him to the police for a sexual crime at a post-election party in May 2014. 

“I have not yet seen the [police] report, but from the little information I have received, I know which occasion it concerns and that what is being claimed is not true,” Ingerö said in a Facebook post explaining why he had had to leave. “Whatever the facts, the judgement has been taken that I can no longer carry out my duties as party secretary. It is of course a great sorrow to leave in this way.”

Skyttedal, who was the leader of the Christian Democrats’ youth wing, the KDU, at the time of the alleged incident, followed up with her own Facebook post on Tuesday evening.

“Eight years ago, a party colleague decided, against my will, to try and lay claim to my body. For all these years I have been silent. Tried to suppress what happened,” she wrote in a Facebook post which has since been removed following a large volume of hateful comments.

“I wish I’d said something earlier and feel ashamed that I did not act more powerfully in that moment.”

“That is why the other week, I decided to report the event to the police. The process will play out in the legal system and I will sadly be limited on how much I can comment in future.” 

Skyttedal further explained the background behind why she chose to report the incident now, eight years later.

“A few weeks ago the man crossed a line again, and that was the last straw,” she explained. “A professional line, not even close to the line crossed eight years ago. But something snapped. He, of all people, did not have the right to treat me badly again.”

It is not yet clear which specific crime or crimes Ingerö has been accused of. If he has been accused of ofredande or sexuellt ofredande (molestation or sexual molestation), the statute of limitations for those specific crimes will have expired and he will not be prosecuted.

The fall-out between Skyttedal and Ingerö may be related to her recent outspoken support of drug reform. 

Skyttedal in December went against Christian Democrat party line and began to campaign for the legalisation of cannabis.

She was then interviewed on SVT’s flagship 30 minuter interview programme about her cannabis use, saying she had taken the drug while sitting as an MEP, but only in countries where using the drug is legal.

Christian Democrat party leader Ebba Busch wrote on the party’s website that she had been informed of the accusations on January 29 and that the party had “handled this according to set procedures”.

“It has been handled with the care it requires. Regardless of the reason for Johan leaving his post, the report raises questions about Johan’s ability to fulfil his fiduciary duties,” she wrote.