On Monday, November 12, after nine weeks of deliberations, the Speaker of the Swedish parliament proposed that Ulf Kristersson, chairman of the Moderate Party (conservative), and leader of the Alliance, should be elected to Prime Minister.
As stipulated in the Constitution, the proposal was immediately tabled, i.e. postponed, and further postponed on the next day. (The Constitution presumes that members of the parliament need a couple of days to think things over.)
The Center Party and the Liberal Party declared that they would vote “nay” to any government that needs to rely on the (ultra-right) Sweden Democrats to implement its politics, thereby standing by their campaign promises.
Mr. Kristersson declared that he intended to build his government on Moderates and Christian Democrats, controlling 92 seats – i.e. less than a third. For a majority, he would need 62 supporting votes from Sweden Democrats, plus 51 supporting votes from the liberal parties (Center and Liberals).
Ultra-right and liberals? Really? Everybody knew “This ain’t gonna happen“.
But the Speaker again presented his proposal today November 14, at 9 o’clock sharp.
And so it was that later, as the Speaker told his tally …
“154 yes, 195 no: the chamber has rejected Ulf Kristersson for Prime Minister.”
The thus rebuffed candidate expressed his extreme disappointment with the other parties in the Alliance, saying that if they had abstained from voting, instead of voting no, he would have become Prime Minister today …
This is an unprecedented situation in Swedish politics – it has always been possible to find a candidate that could be accepted in the first voting round. The Constitution allows four chances; thereafter follows a new, extra election.
The only one that seemed content with today’s result was Jimmy Åkesson, leader of the Sweden Democratic Party. He declared that it proved that a new conservative block had been created with Moderates, Christian Democrats, and Sweden Democrats, i.e. the Alliance is dead.
Now what? Tomorrow, a new candidate will be commissioned to try… who is next?
An obvious choice would be Stefan Löfven, leader of Social Democrats. Also, Annie Lööf, leader of the Center Party, says that she wants to try.
But Ulf Kristersson is said to be trying to prevent that she gets the commission. Can he influence the Speaker’s choice?
It’s not over yet. Will we have a new government before Christmas? Will we have a new election after New Year’s?
UPDATE 1: Annie Lööf, leader for the Center Party was assigned to probe an agreement between the blocks. She’s expected to report back to the Speaker after one week.
She says she’s aiming for a government consisting of the parties in the Alliance, with the recently rejected Ulf Kristersson as prime minister, carried by supporting votes from the left block.
That is, the smaller, conservative, block for a government, with active support from the bigger, progressive block… oh really? No need to say that some political commentators are asking what she’s been smoking.
UPDATE 2: The interim government has presented an interim budget for next year. Strictly complying with the rules in the constitution, the budget doesn’t contain any reform, it’s only a prolongation of this year’s budget, expected to be accepted by the parliament without discussions.
The writers of the constitution anticipated that this might happen, and took it in consideration – at least to some extent… but it does not prevent that a competing/conflicting budget may be proposed by any party.
The conservative parties intend to present a conservative budget and expect to get support from the ultra-right side. Depending on how the Liberals and Center vote, it might win.
And if the current turmoil should end with a progressive government, which is quite possible, they would have to reign with a conservative budget…