Historic Sacking: Swedish Parliament Ousts the Prime Minister

The Swedish Parliament sacked the country’s prime minister Stefan Löfven on 21 June 2021, sacked over the proposed axing of the limit of rent increases and rent limits, thus protection of the working class. It is a historic event, as it is the first time in the history of Scandinavian nation a prime minister is forced to step down in a parliamentary vote of no confidence.

Featured photo: bird’s eye view on Stockholm

The political dramatic events come after weeks of pressure on the prime minister. The country’s leader had a majority, 181 of 349 parliamentary members, against him. 109 still supported him, while a whopping 51 didn’t choose to make a stand and wavered their right to vote (eight MPs were not present).

The socialist Vänsterpartiet started putting the nail to the government’s coffin last week, by declaring it lost confidence in the PM over the rental protection of tenants his government wants to take away, thus giving commercial parties relatively large freedoms in raising or deciding over the rental price for new apartments and houses in the country.

Christian support for far right

The declaration was quickly picked up by the populist, anti-immigrant far right Sverigedemokraterna – the third party in Swedish parliament – as they filed for an official vote of no confidence. In a reaction the Christian Party was fast in declaring its support to it. And with the backing of many of the MPs of the Moderaterna, the country’s biggest opposition party (centre-right), the end has come for Stefan Löfven.

Survive

Or has it? Because Löfven has proven to survive much and has historically tried to paint events as not his fault or his responsibility. Just before the weekend he announced it was not him, but the actors on the housing market who are responsible for the outcome of his government proposition to let the rental limits go. Already after taking office in October 2014 he moved many of the PM’s responsibilities to his ministers. And after today’s loss of confidence he said to use the week ahead to “get out of the severely bad political situation”.

Social Democratic Party

If Löfven succeeds to negotiate a deal with parties – by law through negotiations between parties lead by the Speaker of Parliament – he might continue as Sweden’s leader. If the so-called “speaker rounds” (talmansrundorna) have no effect and there will be new general elections Löfven might also return as prime minister if his party wins. The Social Democratic party doesn’t have many alternatives. It was its party leader Göran Persson (1996-2007) who became quite active in stopping short the career of potential adversaries. Succeeding leaders Mona Sahlin and Håkan Juholt were both unable to inspire the masses.

Short-lived

If there will be general elections, they will have to be held within 3 months. It will likely mean September, when Swedes are back from their summer holidays. However, the next government will be short-lived. Sweden already has planned parliamentary elections in 2022, and they will be held no matter what today’s outcome will be. | Marcel Burger / nordicreporter.com (text and photo)

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