Swedish parties strike deal that could end political deadlock

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Stefan Lofven speaks during a press conference at the Swedish parliament in Stockholm, Sweden, on November 23, 2018. The Centre Party’s Annie Lööf announced she will vote to back Löfven as Swedish PM if his name is put forward by the Speaker, Monday. (Henrik Montgomery/AFP/Getty Images)
The leader of the Center party Annie Lööf says her party will back Social Democratic leader Stefan Löfven if the speaker of Parliament puts him forward next week for a vote to be Sweden’s Prime Minister.

The Center Party had previously voted against Löfven in December. But on Friday, Lööf rattled off a string of political promises made by the Social Democrats that she said made her party’s support possible.

“We will recommend that the party committee allow Stefan Löfven to be elected prime minister in next week’s vote,” Lööf told reporters.

Some of the compromises Lööf secured are lower taxes, tougher punishments for honor crimes and forced marriages, the possibility for family reunification for asylum seekers and measures to get newcomers into jobs and speaking Swedish faster.

The draft deal among the Social Democrats, the Greens, the Center party and the Liberals is 16-pages long and includes 73 points that Stefan Löfven would push as prime minister. The list includes instituting a language requirement for people to become Swedish citizens, deregulating rents for tenants in newly constructed buildings, and keeping the on tax flying.

A “historic mistake”, says Ulf Kristersson
Sweden’s Centre Party leader Annie Lööf gives a press conference in Stockholm, Sweden, on September 27, 2018. (Janerik Henriksson/AFP/Getty Images)

According to Lööf the deal would mean that neither the Sweden Democrats nor the Left Party would have influence within Löfven’s government.

The deal is over policies, and does not mean that the Center Party or the Liberal Party would be part of the government. Instead, the Social Democrats and the Greens will govern, and the four parties will co-operate over the budget, based on the detailed agreement.

Sweden has been without a new government for four months now after September’s general election produced a split parliament. Since then the center-left and center-right blocs have been unable to reach a compromise. Both have also refused to work with the anti-immigration Sweden Democrat Party.

Ulf Kristersson of the conservative Moderate Party said it would be a “historic mistake” if the Center and Liberal parties broke away from the Alliance, the center-right four-party bloc that campaigned together and once ruled Sweden.

Lööf’s support does not guarantee Löfven will clear a vote in parliament but it greatly increases his chances of success.

The speaker of parliament Andreas Norlén will announce the third candidate for prime minister on Monday, to be put up for a vote by lawmakers on Wednesday. If this candidate and a fourth are both rejected, an extra election will be called.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: ITK, an Arctic Council rejig and the summit Finland won’t let die : Northern news to watch for in 2019, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Finnish parties find consensus at cross-party climate summit, Yle News

Norway: Rebel region in Arctic Norway slams door on Oslo government, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Will Sweden get a new government this month?, Radio Sweden

United States: In Congress, Alaskans are split over shutdown, Alaska Public Media

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