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Jimmie Åkesson challenges the PM in Sweden's Riksdag. Facebook

Swedish Prime Minister kicked out after no-confidence vote

At a press conference on Thursday afternoon, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven attacked several parties and accused them of exposing Sweden to "danger". Exactly where the danger lies in that Stefan Löfven could be forced to resign, he did not say. He only talked about restarting after the pandemic, green transition and subjects unrelated to danger.

Published: June 21, 2021, 11:42 am

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    Löfven had two alternatives to form a government, by either announcing by-elections or requesting dismissal. The Prime Minister had less than a week to decide before the vote. He was ousted in a no-confidence vote in parliament on Monday.

    The no-confidence vote was made possible by the Left Party stating that it would support a no-confidence motion as well as the Moderates and Christian Democrats saying that they would support the request for a no-confidence vote that the Sweden Democrats submitted on Thursday morning.

    The PM has become the first Swedish Prime Minister to lose a no-confidence vote, after failing to secure majority support in parliament for proposed rental reforms. During the initial press conference, Löfven lied about Sweden Democrats supporting market-related rentals, but just like the Left Party, the SD was against it.

    The fragmented parliamentary situation has been evident since the last election in 2018, when it took a full four months to form a government after the PM’s tenacious and probably unconstitutional actions. He used Christmas holidays, summer holidays and coffee breaks to stall the process, which required urgency as stipulated by law. This resulted in the four failed attempts at forming a viable coalition.

    In most of the scenarios now being discussed, everything depends on the Center Party’s attitude. It is obvious that Löfven intends to take the opportunity to get rid of centre-right politics. Then he could get the Left Party on board again, but this presupposes that the PM gives up on the notion of market-related rentals.

    A new election could turn the entire playing field around, but in principle only SD was interested in it. If Löfven had not announced his departure for whatever reason, it was expected that all parties except the SD would have been prepared for far-reaching compromises on selected issues. However, there was also a risk that this would not have been a sufficient remedy and then a new election would be forced upon voters anyway, even though almost no one had wanted it.

    For the opposition, there was a very important aspect of getting Löfven out of power well before the election. All indications were that the Social Democrats were planning to restrict and control the flow of information through pressure on social media companies. This in principle would have made it impossible for any party other than the Social Democrats to win the election. The question was whether the opposition had realized this risk.

    On Facebook, the Sweden Democrats commented: “We did not vote out Löfven to create a political crisis. We’re voting against Löfven to avoid one.”

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