So, what happened to the deliberations about a new Swedish government? Before Xmas, the parliament voted “no” to both contenders, Stefan Löfven from the Social Democrats with 144 supporting votes, versus Ulf Kristersson from the right wing/Alliance/Moderates with 143 supporting votes.
Nothing much happened, actually, until the last few days. The Speaker announced, before Xmas, that he would propose a new vote on January 14, to be held on January 16. And in the meantime, there has obviously been silent talks within each party, and something’s gonna happen soon.
– On January 11, Annie Lööf, chairwoman of the Center Party, declared that she’ll support Stefan Löfven for prime minister, in spite of her previous statement “rather eating my right shoe than allowing Stefan Löfven to become prime minister”. (I guess reality bites.)
– And on January 13, Jan Björklund, chairman of the Liberals, announced the same decision: the Liberals will vote for Löfven on January 16. This means that the right-wing Alliance of four parties is dead, definitely broken. Ulf Kristersson vented his bitter disappointment for the media corps, as did Ebba Busch Thor from the Christian Democrats. (However, Lööf doesn’t acknowledge that the Alliance is dead.
– And finally, on the same day, Isabella Lövin, representing the Environmental Party, joined the Liberals and Center.
So, is it over now, will we get a new government on Wednesday?
Eh… we don’t know. For Löfven to win the vote, it’s necessary that the Left Party doesn’t vote against him, i.e. they must vote for him or abstain from voting. It has never happened that the Left have voted against a Social Democratic government, but there’s always a first, and this might be it. Why?
The reason is that Löfven has signed a 73-point agreement with the other parties with one paragraph that says that neither the (extreme right) Sweden Democrats nor the Left Party should have any influence whatsoever on the new government. (The right-wing Alliance, surprisingly also the Center and Liberals, love to mention the Left in the same sentence as the Sweden Democrats, perhaps to justify their attitude to the Sweden Democrats.)
Of course, this is seen by the Left as unfair, a rude insult! (To be fair, I think they’re right – the Left and the Sweden Democrats are definitely playing in different ballparks.)
So it’s an open question: will the Left swallow the insult and abstain from voting, thereby giving us a new government on Wednesday?
Update: By noon on Monday Jonas Sjöstedt, chairman of the Left Party, announced that the Left Party will block Stefan Löfven from becoming prime minister if notice of a vote is given today. He demands negotiations and acceptable clarifications from the Social Democrats, in order to give him support. Probably this means that the Speaker will postpone the voting a few days to allow talks between the parties. I.e…. it’s still not over