Despite Hultqvist's overall popularity with Swedish political circles, the opposition pledged to persist with the no confidence motion against him after he had allegedly "neglected his responsibilities."
To protect Defense Minister Hultqvist, the Social Democrats launched a social-media campaign, hashtagged #BackaHultqvist ('Support Hultqvist'), the Swedish news outlet Resumé reported.
The central image of the campaign uses a red-blue stenciled image of Hultqvist, which is strikingly similar to that used by former US President Barack Obama in his election campaign. The original Barack Obama 'Hope' poster was designed by Shepard Fairey and became iconic after being used in the 2008 presidential campaign.
The 'Support Hultqvist' poster utilizes the same recognizable style and color scheme, but is complemented with a reference to a Swedish anti-mobbing campaign from the 1980s, replacing the original "Don't touch my friend" text with "Don't touch my Defense Minister."
Campaign manager Ashkan Panahirad told the Swedish news outlet The Local that the organizers chose the "aesthetically expressive" Obama-style imagery in order to "look good."
Jacob Westberg, associate professor in security policy and strategy at Sweden's National Defense College, argued that it "wouldn't look good" if Hultqvist were to resign at the time of the Aurora 17 exercise being held around Stockholm, Gothenburg and the island of Gotland in September. Aurora 17 is the biggest exercise held on Swedish soil in two decades and in addition to Swedish troops will feature soldiers from Denmark, France, Norway and the US.
"In fact, I think you can say that it is worrying. Sweden's Aurora is not a purely military exercise, but rather a total defense exercise where several different parts of society are involved," Jacob Westberg told the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet. "Additionally, we live in a time of increased tension, generally speaking. It would thus be unfortunate, if we had this kind of domestic policy battles around the Defense Minister at the same time," he added.
According to the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet, the list of possible replacements for Peter Hultqvist includes fellow Social Democrat and Deputy Chairman of the Parliamentary Defense Committee Åsa Lindestam, as well as former Defense Ministers Björn von Sydow and Jan Nygren, yet all of them as temporary solutions.