A majority in the Swedish parliament is ready to support a no-confidence motion against Social Democrat Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and his government.
The process was initiated by the Left Party, which declared that they no longer support Löfven. The background for the Left Party’s discontent is the government’s proposal to deregulate the market for rented housing. On Tuesday, the Left issued an ultimatum to the government to drop the proposal or start negotiations with the relevant associations to ensure improvements.
“The deadline has passed, and the government has not met our requirements,” party leader Nooshi Dadgostar declared, noting that the no-confidence motion must be submitted before the parliament disbands for a summer vacation. “I have no other choice but to go for no-confidence simply. That's where we stand,” she told the newspaper Aftonbladet.
The national-conservative Sweden Democrats supported the Left, thus ensuring enough votes to initiate the formal procedure leading up to a no-confidence motion in parliament.
Subsequently the Christian Democrats and the Moderates, both right-of-the-centre parties, also supported the proposal, which thus enjoys a parliamentary majority.
“These have been seven difficult years with Stefan Löfven, since he took office. We now see the opportunity to form a new government,” Christian Democrats party leader Ebba Busch Thor noted.
“It is natural for us to vote against this government. It is based on incompatible contradictions and promises,” the Moderates parliamentary group leader, Tobias Billström, underscored.
“I expect that the majority will vote to remove Löfven,” the Sweden Democrats’ parliamentary leader Henrik Vinge summarised.
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven called the motion of no-confidence against his government “in the midst of a pandemic” “completely irresponsible”, venturing that it throws the country into a new parliamentary crisis.
The vote will be held on Monday morning. At least 175 of the 349 MPs must vote in favour of the no-confidence motion in order for it to pass. Now that the Moderates have thrown their weight behind the proposal, it now has the support of 181 representatives.
Ebba Busch said that, for the time being, new elections cannot be taken for granted. However, Busch added that her party would welcome them “because it would give voters an opportunity to have their say”.
Previously, the ruling Social Democrats came under fire for their unique no-lockdown handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in a much higher number of cases and fatalities compared with Sweden's neighbours. The Swedish approach even drew criticism from the country's usually reticent monarch, King Carl XVI Gustaf, who described it as a failure. Earlier this year, the Social Democrats even lost their top spot in polls.
The party and Stefan Löfven in particular have also been slammed for their open-doors immigration policy, which over a matter of several years took in hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers, as well as poor integration, which Löfven himself admitted to be the source of numerous problems, including crime and parallel societies.