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2022 SWEDISH ELECTION

Swedish Politics: Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson wins backing to be next PM

Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson has struck a comprehensive four-party deal which opens the way for the most anti-immigration government in Sweden's recent history. Here's a blog of the day's news as it came out.

Swedish Politics: Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson wins backing to be next PM
The four party leaders present their 50-page agreement. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT
  • Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson wins backing to be next PM
  • Liberal MPs pledge to vote down begging ban, scrapping interpreters 
  • Centre Party leader slams agreement as a “liberal crash-landing”
  • Sweden Democrats win begging ban, civil servants, and crown witnesses
  • Liberal Party will be part of new government coalition
  • Four-party deal stretches to 50 pages 

Liberal MPs pledge to vote down begging ban, scrapping interpreters 

Several Liberal Party MPs have come out in criticism of measures their party leadership has backed as party of the so-called Tidöavtalet agreement, with at least one pledging that she will vote down several of the more controversial measures if they end up going before parliament. 

Anna Starbrink, the Liberal Party’s healthcare spokesperson, said that she planned to vote against the begging ban and against a proposal to stop immigrants from getting free interpreters when seeing doctors or visiting hospital. 

Jan Jönsson, a Liberal Party city councillor in Stockholm, said that the agreement included far greater concessions to Liberal Party policies than even his worst fears. 

“I’ve been worried for a long time, and still feel a bit like ‘wowsa, that was a lot worse than I would have expected,” he told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper. 

“No one can say that these proposals are liberal policies. But that’s the price you pay if you join a government with an extremely large nationalist party.” 

Centre Party leader slams agreement as a “liberal crash-landing”

Annie Lööf, the outgoing leader of the opposition Centre Party called the agreement “a liberal crash-landing”. 

“For many years, they’ve spoken of the need for a Liberal, centre-right change of government, and it’s ended up now with a conservative, nationalist change in government,” she said. 

Social Democrat leader Magdalena Andersson also sharply criticised the agreement, saying it almost entirely consisted of Sweden Democrat policies. 

“All you need to do is look at this agreement to see entirely clearly that it is the Sweden Democrats who are holding the leash,” she said. “It’s clear that this is an agreement which is very painful, not least for the Liberal Party.”

Green Party leader Märta Stenevi said that the agreement was “a deathblow for Sweden’s climate action”. 

Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson wins backing to be next PM

Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson began the press conference by stating that “Agreement for Sweden”, or Tidöavtalet (named after the country house where it was negotiated over the weekend) would see significant changes to the country in seven different policy areas. 

The next government would include the Moderates, Christian Democrats and Liberals, with the Sweden Democrats supporting it from the outside. 

“The mandate we got in the election means not only that change is necessary, but also that it is possible,” he said. 

See the details of the agreement in our article here

Sweden Democrats get civil servants in government offices 

“For the Sweden Democrats it is absolutely essential that the government-shift brings a paradigm shift,” Åkesson said. 

The far-right Sweden Democrats will get the right to appoint civil servants in government offices, and a new cooperation organisation will be set up through which the party will be able to work with the three-party coalition. 

The tough new policies on migration included tougher citizenship requirements, a higher minimum salary for work permits, the abolition of permanent residency for asylum seekers.

The tougher policies on crime include a national ban on begging, doubled punishments for gang members, and repatriation for gang members with foreign citizenship, the possibility of sending prisoners to serve their sentences abroad, bringing in a crown witness program of anonymous witnesses, stop-and-search zones, and increased use of security cameras. 

When it came to migration, Åkesson said that the new government would stick to two guiding principles. 

“The right to receive asylum will be upheld,” he said. “And Sweden’s framework should not be more generous than what the EU demands.” 

When it comes to labour migration, the party said the new government planned increase the minimum salary for labour migrants to the median salary in Sweden. 

Liberal Party will be part of new government coalition

According to a story from Sweden’s state radio broadcaster SR, the Liberal Party has succeeded in negotiating a ministerial seat for itself in Sweden’s new government coalition. 

In exchange, it has had to make concessions on migration and law and order policy. 

A disagreement with the Sweden Democrats over the party’s inclusion has been seen as the reason why Kristersson could not announce a government deal by the initial deadline on Wednesday. 

Four party coalition deal stretches to 50 pages 

The agreement before the four parties backing Ulf Kristersson as prime minister stretches to 50 pages, the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper has reported.  

According to the paper, the parties have also negotiated Sweden’s next budget, but have not yet agreed on the details. 

Moderate leader strikes government coalition deal

Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson has completed his deal with the Sweden Democrat, Christian Democrat and Liberal parties, and will announce it at 10am on Friday, state broadcaster SVT has reported.

According to a story published at close to 11pm on Thursday night, the four parties will hold a press conference at 10am where they will lay out the details on the new government’s plans to reform Sweden over the next four years. 

The agreement contains both policy details and details of which parties shall be part of the coalition and how they will work together. 

After the press conference, at 11am, Kristersson will visit the parliament’s Speaker Andreas Norlén to inform him that the deal has been done, after which the Speaker will call a parliamentary vote on Kristersson as prime minister, probably for Monday. 

EARLIER THIS WEEK

  • Liberals ‘still not ready’ to back Kristersson as PM
  • Moderate leader get two more days to strike coalition deal
  • ‘Worrying’ no deal reached: Social Democrat leader Magdalena Andersson
  • Moderates ‘a little stressed’ ahead of Wednesday talks deadline 

Thursday October 13th

Liberals ‘still not ready’ to back Kristersson as PM

The leader of Sweden’s Liberal Party said in an interview on Thursday that it was still “not clear” that his party could back Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson as PM in the parliamentary vote expected on Monday. But he said he still expected a deal to be done by Friday’s new deadline.

Johan Perhson was asked by the Expressen newspaper whether it was “clear” that his party would be able to support Kristersson in a prime ministerial vote. 

“That won’t be the case until everything is done, but I have positive expectations,” he said. “I hope I can get to that point.” 

Perhson said that it was “better to do everything properly even when everything comes to a crunch”. 

When it came to the issue of whether the Liberal Party would be able to have a ministerial seat in the ruling coalition, Pehrson said he believed it would. 
 
“We are extremely close to that too,” he said. 

Wednesday October 12th

Moderate leader gets two more days to strike coalition deal

The Swedish parliament’s speaker, Andreas Norlén, has given the Moderate Party’s leader, Ulf Kristersson, two more days to negotiate a coalition deal, with his candidacy as Prime Minister to go before parliament on Monday.

In a press release issued on Wednesday, Norlén said that the work of forming a new government “should not be forced”, and that he would therefore grant Kristersson’s request, just as he had a similar request for two additional days from Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven back in January 2019. 

He said he had asked Kristersson to report back to him at 11am on Friday, with a parliamentary vote tabled for Monday immediately for the first time immediately after the meeting, and for the second time on Saturday.  

The release was issued immediately after a meeting between Kristersson and Norlén at 11am on Wednesday.

In a press conference after the meeting, Kristersson said that his negotiations were “basically complete”, but that there were “some issues that we want to work a bit more on so we can announce everything together”. 

He refused to give any details as to whether the four parties were agreed on whether the Liberal Party would have ministerial posts in the new government – a key difference between the Sweden Democrats and the Liberals – saying he wanted to annouce the agreement as an entirety. 

“I do not want to talk about any parts [of the deal] until I can talk about everything at one,” he said.

During the campaign, Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Akesson had insisted on having cabinet posts in any right-wing government, but the Liberals had vowed to block any government that included the Sweden Democrats. 

Kristersson said that he would meet Norlén again on Friday, by which time he hoped to be able to announce the complete details of the deal struck between the four parties. 

He pushed back at suggestions that he was taking a long time to reach a deal, pointing out that it was only two weeks since the Speaker had formally given him the task of negotiating it.

“I do not think that it has taken a long time at all,” he said. “This is exactly two weeks to the day since I received my charge from  the Speaker. We are talking about two weeks, not four weeks or even two months.”

Asked how confident he was that a deal could be struck by Friday, he said he was close to certain. 

“I feel certain that we are moving towards a new government and that we will have that confirmed in the chamber on Monday.”

Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson on his way to meet the parliament’s speaker Andreas Norlén. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/ TT

Talks will not be ready by Wednesday deadline: SvD

Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson had not managed to strike a coalition deal with the leaders of the other four parties by the time he began his meeting with speaker Andreas Norlén at 11am on Wednesday, according to the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper. newspaper, meaning he is likely to ask for an extension.

“It has been and still is extremely good,” Kristersson said of the ongoing negotiation as he arrived for his talk. “We are agreed on the major issues.” 

According to the Expressen newspaper, Kristersson will ask Norlén for two more days, with a prime ministerial vote in parliament called for Monday. 

A source told Swedish state broadcaster SR on Tuesday evening that it would be “a miracle” if Kristersson was able to Norlén he was ready to put his candidacy as prime minister before parliament this week. 
 
Other party leaders were equally tight-lipped ahead of the meeting. 
 
“We are fighting for Sweden,” said Liberal leader Johan Pehrson when he passed journalists in the parliament, while Kristersson would only say “we’ll see you at 11am”.
 
“There have been extremely good and constructive talks throughout all this, and soon we’ll know more,” Christian Democrat leader Ebba Busch told SVT.
 

Christian Democrat leader Ebba Busch on her way into the parliament building on Wednesday. Photo: Tim Aro/TT
 

‘Worrying’ no deal reached: Social Democrat leader Magdalena Andersson

Sweden’s outgoing Social Democrat Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson has expressed her concern that the right-wing bloc is taking so long to agree on Sweden’s next coalition government, saying that in the current fraught situation for Sweden and the world it was “worrying”. 

She said that she was “surprised” that Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson had not managed to get a deal in place a month after the election. 

“This is a situation where it would have been extremely good to have a rapid coalition building process,” she told the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper.  

The Liberal Party’s tax spokeswoman Gulan Avci and their economic spokesperson Mats Persson photographed in at a meeting of the party’s MPs in Sweden’s parliament building on Tuesday afternoon. Photo: Pontus Lundahl / TT

Moderates ‘a little stressed’ ahead of Wednesday talks deadline 

The Moderate party’s negotiators are “a little stressed” and the party’s leader Ulf Kristersson will today say that the ongoing talks over forming a new government are only “close” to a deal, according to a Liberal Party briefing glimpsed by the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper.
 
The note, projected on a screen at a briefing of Liberal Party MPs in the parliament building, indicate that the Moderate Party has not yet been able to overcome the differences between the far-right Sweden Democrats and the Liberal Party over whether the Liberals can join Sweden’s next governing coalition. 
 
Kristersson will meet the parliament’s Speaker Andreas Norlén at 11am on Wednesday to hand over his final report on the month of talks he has led between the Moderates, Christian Democrats, Sweden Democrats and Liberals since the four parties won a slim three-seat majority in a general election on September 11th. 
 
 
If Kristersson asks for more time, it is up to Norlén whether to give him another week, appoint another party leader to form a government, or instead bring matters to a crunch by calling a parliamentary vote on his candidacy as prime minister. 
 
If the latter happens, a vote could be held on Friday. If either the Liberals or the Sweden Democrats then vote Kristersson down, the process begins again. 
 
The speaker has four shots at putting a prime ministerial candidate to a vote in parliament before a new general election is called. 
 

Member comments

  1. Stop and Frisk is not fair to people of color. It’s demoralizing and targets immigrants. The average Swen and Marlin won’t be targeted. Severely unfair. I am an American from Ny a law-abiding citizen who has been through this. It’s awful.

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POLITICS

Swedish PM’s top aide resigns over illegal eel fishing

One of Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson's top aides has resigned from his post after it emerged that he had been fined by police for illegally fishing for eels and had twice lied to the authorities about what happened.

Swedish PM's top aide resigns over illegal eel fishing

PM Nilsson lied twice to police about eel fishing equipment he was caught with, the second time after he was appointed as state secretary at the end of October. 

After the resignation, Kristersson said he was disappointed that Nilsson, who had previously been a columnist for the Dagens Industri newspaper, had had to step down. 

“I think of course that it is unfortunate that this situation has come about, but I understand his decision,” he said in a written comment to the TT newswire. “PM Nilsson has been a highly appreciated member of the team and is a highly competent person. We are going to miss him.” 

READ ALSO: Why a political aide’s eel denial is causing friction in Sweden

Nilsson announced his decision on Facebook, saying that he had already apologised and paid the fines. 

“I understand how improper it is to fish for eels without a permit and to not tell things as they were to the authorities, even if I have since then rung the police and admitted that I had caught 15 fish,” he wrote in the post. 

Nilsson was recently fined for poaching eel in 2021, and has admitted to having lied to police in a conversation just before Christmas when he claimed that the eel-fishing equipment he had been caught with was not his. He later regretted this decision and informed the police.  

In his Facebook post, Nilsson referred to media reports that police were now investigating him for a further crime of contravening a law to protect endangered species, saying he did not know if this were the case. 

The opposition Social Democrats on Monday referred Ulf Kristersson to the parliament’s Committee on the Constitution, requiring him to explain the situation around Nilsson, and about whether Kristersson knew of the poaching incident when he appointed him, and also on the security vetting which took place. 

“We need to get clarity about how the process of recruiting him took place,” Ardalan Shekarabi, the party’s justice spokesman, said. “What we are chiefly reacting against is that the state secretary lied to the authorities.”

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