Four Swedish parties reach government deal: reports

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Four Swedish parties reach government deal: reports
Incumbent prime minister and Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven is questioned by media on Thursday. Photo: Naina Helen Jåma/TT

Sweden’s four-month political deadlock may be reaching a conclusion, as Swedish media reported that a deal had been made.

Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet cited sources that the Social Democrats and Green Party had reached a deal with the Centre Party and Liberals.

A document signed by all four party leaders and seen by Dagens Nyheter reportedly said: “Our parties have different ideological starting points but are united in the principles of democracy.”

Political scientist Nicholas Aylott told The Local he believed the deal was “probably the outline of the deal that we’re going to see in the new government”.

Any deal will need to be confirmed by each party’s parliamentary group in meetings on Friday and over the weekend, before an already scheduled prime ministerial vote on Wednesday. The Social Democrats and Centre Party were holding party meetings on Friday, while the Liberals’ meeting is planned for Sunday.

TIMELINE: Everything that’s happened in Swedish politics since the elections

Timeline: Everything that's happened in Swedish politics since the elections
Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/TT

One thing that was not clear from the initial reports is which of the four parties would make up a new government.

“I would expect it to be only Social Democrats [in the new government], but we’ll see,” said Aylott. “If I were the Green Party, I would be pretty cautious about taking on the formal responsibility of government again after a very trying period of government over the last four years. I would think that the status of an influential support party, on the same sort of level as the Centre and Liberals, would be a more comfortable position.”

“The Liberals are very divided about support for a Social Democratic government as it is, and this is going to cause a big problem for the party leader. I think a decision to go all the way into the government would be a step too far for that party,” explained Aylott.

“For the Centre, Annie Lööf some years ago did promise to eat one of her shoes rather than serve in a government under Stefan Löfven. I think going into a government under Löfven would just be too difficult given the promises she’s made.”

A document published on Friday outlining the proposal stated that the proposed government would consist of the Social Democrats and the Green Party.

Sweden’s system of negative parliamentarianism means a proposed government does not technically need a single vote in its favour to pass; all that is required is that a majority does not vote against it.

Therefore, parties can allow a coalition to govern by abstaining from a vote, which is sometimes called ‘tolerating’ the government or offering ‘passive support’.

What's next for Sweden? Why today is crucial for the country's political future
From left, Ulf Kristersson, Annie Lööf and Jan Björklund talk to Stefan Löfven. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

The Centre and Liberals ended up in a kingmaker-role after the election left just one seat separating the centre-left bloc (Social Democrats, Green Party, and Left Party) and the centre-right bloc (Moderates, Christian Democrats, Centre Party and Liberal Party), neither with enough support to form a government.

The Centre and Liberals have refused to back a government made up of their centre-right allies, the Moderates and Christian Democrats, due to the fact it would rely on support from the far-right Sweden Democrats.

But it has also been hard for them to reach an agreement with the centre-left Social Democrats, despite several months of talks.

According to the unconfirmed report in Aftonbladet as well as sources cited by Dagens Nyheter, Löfven has offered to make concessions to the Centre Party regarding Sweden’s labour law, something which the Centre Party leader Annie Lööf earlier named as a topic where the parties had struggled to find common ground, as well as in the area of housing regulations.

Another part of the agreement allegedly includes reintroducing flight tax, brought in by the previous centre-left government but abolished by the centre-right budget voted through last month.

Dagens Nyheter reports that a proposal for an deal that would allow the Moderates to form a government with the Christian Democrats has also been put to the Centre and Liberals.

The document states that “the government or the government parties’ representatives will not negotiate or work together with the Sweden Democrats”.

Parliamentary speaker Andreas Norlén has already named January 16th as the date when the next prime minister vote will be held. He has said that he will announce the candidate, either Stefan Löfven or Ulf Kristersson, on Monday afternoon, after meeting with each of the party leaders earlier in the day.

If that vote is unsuccessful, a fourth vote will happen on January 23rd. If parliament fails to elect a prime minister, Sweden will need to hold a snap election no more than three months after the fourth and final vote, according to election rules.

To catch up with everything that has happened since the election, CLICK HERE. And if you have any questions about the process, log in to comment below.