europe

Stefan Löfven back as Swedish PM weeks after no-confidence vote


Sweden’s parliament has backed the return of Stefan Löfven as prime minister, weeks after he became the first Swedish leader to lose a no-confidence vote.

But Löfven, a former union boss who guided the Social Democrats to power in 2014 and then moved the party to the right after inconclusive 2018 elections, has yet to find majority support for a budget and said he would resign again this autumn if he could not do so by then.

Under the Swedish system, a prime minister is accepted as long a majority of MPs do not vote against him. Löfven’s nomination passed in the 349-seat parliament with a vote of 116 for and 173 against, with 60 abstentions.

“Since less than half of the members of parliament have voted no, the chamber has approved the motion to appoint Stefan Löfven as prime minister,” the speaker, Andreas Norlén, told parliament after the vote was concluded.

The vote ends weeks of political turmoil but leaves Löfven facing a difficult year before the general election scheduled for September next year, with the main leftwing and rightwing blocs in Sweden’s parliament in effect deadlocked.

Löfven’s fragile minority coalition with the Greens had been propped up by the centre-right Centre and Liberal parties and the once communist Left party, which last month withdrew its backing over plans to ease rent controls on new flats, prompting the no-confidence vote tabled by the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats.

He reached a deal with the Centre party, which agreed to abstain from voting against him, and an independent former Left party MP to secure his nomination on Wednesday, but a single vote could have tipped the balance.

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Ulf Kristersson, the leader of the largest rightwing opposition party, the Moderate party, had earlier tried but failed to win enough support in parliament for a new centre-right administration.



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