The Prime Minister of Sweden, Stefan Lofven, has resigned from his spot in the government following a vote of no confidence. The vote came on June 21, when Lofven’s coalition disintegrated after the Left Party abruptly retracted its earlier support of the Prime Minister. The resulting scramble to form a government has led to a chaotic moment for Sweden, with no clear coalition coming together to govern even as Lofven steps away from the top spot.
Lofven’s resignation on Monday comes just as he ran out of time to find support among Parliament to keep his position. Had he been able to get a majority coalition together by Monday, he could have remained in power. However, the former union boss was unable to reunite the shaky alliance that put him in power in 2018, and so had to take his leave.
The vote of no confidence was called by the Sweden Democrats Party over ongoing criticism of the Social Democrats Party, their main rival. However, Lofven had enough support until the Left Party suddenly pulled their backing of the government over a disagreement about legislation relating to Sweden’s housing crisis.
Lofven is the first PM in Swedish history to lose a vote of no confidence. His resignation puts the job of finding a new PM in the hands of the Speaker of Parliament, Andreas Norlen. Norlen will have to negotiate with the major party leaders to construct a government, leaving the country in an uncertain position even as efforts at reopening and vaccinating are ongoing.
Lofven could have called an immediate election to attempt to garner enough votes from the public to remain in power. He declined to do so, however, stating that he didn’t feel that an election would be in the best interest of the country.
The coalition that had allowed Lofven to stay in power since 2018 was uncertain at best. While Lofven’s own party, the Social Democrats, make up the highest number of seats in Parliament, they only comprise a plurality. Meanwhile, he was relying on support from the Green and Left parties to stay afloat.
Currently, it’s unclear what the succeeding government will look like. Sweden’s center-right Moderates Party wants to put its leader, Ulf Kristersson, in charge. With no clear majority of support, Parliament is expected to enter lengthy talks in order to propose a new government that can get the votes to pass.