Only two weeks after former Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven formally resigned from his post, he’s been reinstated as the Prime Minister of Sweden. His resignation came after Parliament ousted him in a vote of no confidence on June 21, following the sudden reversal of the coalition that made him PM.
Rather than force an open election to find his successor, Lofven opted instead to allow Parliament to move to coalition talks. This approach was better for the country, Lofven insisted, as it kept things stable at the top levels of government and allowed Parliament to chart its own course forward.
The same shaky coalition conditions that got Lofven the top spot the first time came back into play to see him retake the role of Prime Minister. Sweden’s Parliament was unable to come to any kind of consensus for the government, with just enough backing for each proposed course of action to land the government in gridlock.
Andreas Norlén, the speaker of the Parliament, oversaw the coalition discussions. By Wednesday, Lofven had 173 votes against him out of the 349-seat Parliament. As such, the remaining 176 votes were enough to reinstate him, according to Norlén. As some in the country observed, this showed that Lofven’s decision to not hold an open election was a prudent one, as it eventually resulted in him getting his old job back.
The battle for the top spot was incredibly close. The opposition Moderates party put forth Ulf Kristersson as their pick for Prime Minister. Kristersson came incredibly close to securing enough votes to earn that top spot: he had the support of 174 members of Parliament, just two votes shy of the number Lofven secured.
Had the government been unable to produce a coalition to take the helm, Sweden would have been forced to hold immediate elections to pull together a new government. The last time this took place was in 1958.
Lofven has served as Prime Minister in the country since 2014. He has managed to pull off an impressive balancing act, keeping the various members of his coalition happy enough to remain at the head of the government.
His first major test came in the 2018 Parliamentary elections, which saw him narrowly lose out to rival political parties. The resulting coalition talks drug on into 2019 before he was finally able to secure enough votes to land his spot back as Prime Minister.
Now, it seems, Lofven has pulled off a similar political feat in 2021.