June 17, 2021
FILE – Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven talks to the press as he arrives for an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels on May 24, 2021. European Union leaders take part in a two day in-person meeting to discuss the coronavirus pandemic, climate, and Russia. (Photo by OLIVIER HOSLET/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
STOCKHOLM – Sweden’s minority government could be toppled next week after a group of four parties in parliament announced Thursday they would back a no confidence vote, potentially triggering a snap election.
The far-right Sweden Democrats party announced it was calling for a motion of no confidence for Monday after the Left Party earlier warned it would seek a similar move over a dispute on rent controls for newly constructed apartments.
“There is now a majority in parliament that wants to dismiss the prime minister,” Henrik Vinge, parliament group leader for the Sweden Democrats, told a press conference.
Vinge said they hoped the government would fall a year ahead of the next general election.
Both the conservative Moderate Party and the Christian Democrats followed suit, securing a parliamentary majority for the no confidence motion against the government of Social Democrat Prime Minister Stefan Lofven.
“We were against the Lofven government when they took power. We were against the Lofven government then, we are against the Lofven government now,” Ebba Busch, party leader of the Christian Democrats, told a press conference.
Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson echoed Busch.
“Our opinion is very clear, this government should never have taken office,” Kristersson wrote on Facebook.
The speaker of the house, Andreas Norlen, confirmed the vote will be held on Monday.
The minority government took power in 2019 after months of political turmoil following inconclusive elections in 2018.
– ‘Not responsible’ –
To secure power it inked a deal with two center-left parties and was propped up by the Left Party.
The deal included proposals for several liberal market reforms, including a government inquiry into allowing landlords to freely set rents for new apartments.
These reforms have irked the Left Party, and after multiple calls on the government to abandon the “market rents,” party leader Nooshi Dadgostar said earlier Thursday that they were looking for support among other parties for a vote of no confidence.
“Someone has to stand up for Sweden’s tenants,” Dadgostar told a press conference adding that it wasn’t an “easy announcement”.
The Left Party has in the past issued several ultimatums to the government, threatening action, but has not gone this far until now.
Speaking in parliament, Lofven said calling for a no confidence motion was “not responsible”.
Lofven also stressed that the proposal to abolish the hotly-debated rent cap was still at an early stage and would only affect new apartments, accounting for less than one percent of rented housing in Sweden.
“It’s not me and the government creating a parliamentary crisis, it’s the Left Party,” Lofven said.
Lofven has announced a press conference of his own at 4:00 pm (1400 GMT).
To topple Lofven, the parties would need to secure 175 votes out of the 349 seats in parliament.
Together the four parties have 181 and should they succeed it would be unprecedented as none of the 11 votes of no confidence called in the Swedish parliament have been successful.