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Sweden reinstates ousted leader Lofven Stefan as PM

Dubai - Lofven's Social Democrats party secured a deal with the centre-right Centre Party that cleared the way for his confirmation.


Published: Wed 7 Jul 2021, 5:59 PM

Sweden's parliament on Wednesday voted to reinstate Social Democrat party leader Stefan Lofven as prime minister, only weeks after he was ousted in a historic vote of no confidence.

Lofven's nomination was passed with a vote of 116 for, 173 against and 60 abstaining. Under the Swedish system a prime minister only needs to be tolerated by parliament -- meaning they can be confirmed as long as a majority doesn't vote against them.

"Since less than half of the members of parliament have voted no, the chamber has approved the motion to appoint Stefan Lofven as prime minister," speaker Andreas Norlen told parliament after the vote was concluded.

To get the vote passed, Lofven's Social Democrats secured a deal with the centre-right Centre Party, which agreed to abstain from voting against him, clearing the way for his confirmation.

Still, the margin was razor thin and on Tuesday the Social Democrats even struck a separate deal to secure the support of individual independent member of parliament Amineh Kakabaveh, formerly of the Left Party, as a single vote could have tipped the balance.

Housing row

An "unholy alliance" of parties, from the Left Party to the far-right Sweden Democrats, teamed up to oust Lofven's coalition government -- made up of the Social Democrats and the Greens -- on June 21.

The confidence motion was filed by the Sweden Democrats after the Left Party, which had previously propped up Lofven's government, said it was planning such a motion itself in a row over housing policy.

The Left Party had been unhappy with a plan to ease rent controls for newly-built homes, a policy which proponents argue is a step towards reforming Sweden's dysfunctional housing market.

Lofven had agreed to the policy to secure the support of two other centre-left parties for his minority government, as part of a drawn-out struggle to find a workable coalition following inconclusive elections in 2018.

But the Left Party and other critics see any easing of the rent controls as fundamentally at odds with the Swedish social model, and a threat to tenants' rights.

Parliamentary speaker Norlen said Monday he had "decided to nominate Stefan Lofven for prime minister" after first tapping Ulf Kristersson, the leader of Sweden's largest right-wing opposition party -- the Moderate Party.

Kristersson returned days after being asked saying he would not have enough support in parliament, while Lofven argued he had secured the conditions for a return.


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