Continuing Tensions in Swedish Parliament

In the wake of the exciting results of the US midterm election… here’s a report about the unclear situation in the Swedish parliament.

The confused picture remains in the parliament, even more unclear and wooly than before. After the election the Speaker had one-on-one talks with all party leaders, trying to assess who would have the best chance to be accepted by the parliament as prime minister. Neither the right wing or the left wing could muster a majority of its own.

First, the Speaker gave the leader of the Alliance (right wing), Ulf Kristersson, the chance to negotiate support for himself. If he succeeded, he would be proposed to the parliament as prime minister. Two weeks later, he admitted “fail” to the Speaker.

Second, the Speaker gave the left-wing leader, Stefan Löfven, currently leading the interim government, the same chance. Another two weeks passed before he too admitted “fail” to the Speaker.

The problem is that both sides had promised, before the election, not to build a government on votes from the ultra-right Sweden Democrats. This means that in order to win, members in the other block must be enticed, lured, or cajoled to switch side. Or betray their own campaign promises.

In particular, standing by their promises is important for the liberal parties in the Alliance, i.e. the Liberals and the Center Party. A recent poll shows that more than 80% of the liberal voters still think that negotiations with Sweden Democrats are unthinkable. On the other hand, the same poll shows that about 70% of the voters for the conservative parties, Moderates, and Christian Democrats, think that it would be okay to grab the power that way…

After the two failed tries, a fifth week was allowed for groupwise deliberations among the parties, with no result. Annie Lööf, leader of the Center Party, wanted to try like the others before her, but Kristersson managed to block her!

Ulf Kristersson and Annie Lōōf,
Breaking up? Ulf Kristersson, chairman of the Moderates, considering word from Annie Lōōf, chairwoman of the Center Party. (Picture by Magnus Hallgren,

The Speaker, now criticized for allowing the process to be too slow, decided, therefore – without knowing the outcome – to ask the parliament to vote next Wednesday about Kristersson as prime minister.

The Speaker is expected to be non-partisan, a fact that he has pointed out, but some suspicions have still been raised about the fact that he’s a moderate…

Will Kristersson get elected or not? He seems ready to betray his promise not to rely on the ultra-right Sweden Democrats, but getting their votes won’t be enough if the Liberals and Center stand by their promises and vote “nay”. If they do, the Alliance has been broken in two: a liberal group and a conservative group – a new political landscape in Sweden. And still no government!

The Liberals leader, Jan Björklund, has recently declared they will vote “nay”. The Center Party are discussing their options, but the odds are low for a “nay”.

Stay tuned for next update!

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