Swedish political maneuverings take an unusual turn

Sweden has never waited this long for a government to be formed and it looks set to be a historic week as parliament seems likely to vote against a proposed government for the first time in history. 

Catherine Edwards
Catherine Edwards NewsMavens, Sweden
Swedish political maneuverings take an unusual turn - NewsMavens
Riksdag Sweden, Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

In the run-up to Sweden's election this year, much of the international reporting focused on the predicted rise of the far-right Sweden Democrats, and how this fitted into the illiberal trend spreading across Europe. While this is a big part of the Sweden election story, it is certainly not the whole picture.

A range of factors have brought Sweden to the position its in today, with a prime ministerial candidate likely to be rejected by parliament for the first time in history.

These include fractures within the two main blocs, a debate over whether and how to work with the Sweden Democrats, and party pledges and negotiations that have left some of the biggest parties backed into a corner.

The questions now are how best to resolve these issues to find a workable government, and how the future looks for the Swedish political landscape?

Details from the story:

  • The September 9 election left no bloc with a majority, and the center-left's lead over the center-right reduced to just one seat in parliament
  • On Wednesday, parliament voted on a proposed government consisting of two of the center-right parties, but this was voted down
  • Two months after the election, there is no official deadline by which Sweden must have a government, but parliament can only vote on PM candidates a maximum of four times before a snap election is called
  • A system of "negative parliamentarianism" means the government doesn't need a majority of MPs to vote in favor, but will fail if a majority votes against. That means parties can "tolerate" or "passively support" a government by abstaining from the vote

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