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World

Sweden's government faces no confidence vote

  • Among the left the proposal has been seen as being at odds with the Swedish social model and a threat to tenants.
21 Jun 2021

STOCKHOLM: Sweden's government is under threat of being toppled on Monday as it faces a no confidence vote that could trigger snap polls, only a year ahead of the 2022 general election.

Heading into the vote on Monday, three scenarios are on the table: Prime Minister Stefan Lofven could simply resign, a snap election could be triggered before next year's general election or some form of political comprise could be reached -- saving the Social Democrat and Green Party coalition minority government at the last minute.

Despite Covid restrictions still being in force all 349 members of parliament have been called in for the 10:00 am (0800 GMT) vote on the no confidence motion, filed on Thursday by the far right Sweden Democrats (SD).

SD filed the motion after the Left Party, which has propped up the government, announced it was planning to seek support for such a motion itself in protest against a government project to ease rent controls, denouncing the move as an attack on the Swedish social model. The conservative Moderate Party and the Christian Democrats have also announced their support for the move.

If defeated, Lofven would go down as the first Swedish head of government to be defeated in a vote of no confidence.

"For a long time it looked like the minority government would make it until the end of the term, but the built-in divisions in the government's base have finally become too big," political commentator Mats Knutson told public broadcaster SVT.

If voted out, Lofven would have a week to either announce a snap election or resign, leaving it up to speaker of parliament Andreas Norlen to open negotiations with the parties to find a new prime minister, which analysts note could end up being Lofven again.

The political crisis was triggered by a project, which is still in its preliminary stages, to reform the country's rent controls and potentially opening the door for landlords to freely set rents for newly constructed apartments.

Among the left the proposal has been seen as being at odds with the Swedish social model and a threat to tenants.

To overthrow the government, a strict absolute majority of 175 votes out of the 349 parliamentary seats is needed. Together, the four parties have 181 seats.

Last-ditch efforts to appease the Left Party, which holds 27 seats, have been in vain.

An offer to invite stakeholders in the rental market for negotiations was dismissed as "not serious and political theatre aimed at stalling the process", by Left Party leader Nooshi Dadgostar.

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