Swedish Nationalists Could Force Snap Elections

If the Sweden Democrats vote down his budget, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven may be forced to call an election.

Swedish prime minister Stefan Löfven at Stockholm Central Station, August 25
Swedish prime minister Stefan Löfven at Stockholm Central Station, August 25 (Socialdemokraterna/Anders Löwdin

The nationalist Sweden Democrats are considering voting down a budget bill next month which could force Prime Minister Stefan Löfven to call snap elections.

Svenska Dagbladet reported on Wednesday that the anti-immigration party, which got almost 13 percent support in September’s parliamentary election, becoming the third largest party, has yet to make a decision. But it says members are leaning toward rejecting the coalition’s spending plans.

Löfven, the Social Democratic Party leader, formed a minority government with the Greens after winning a plurality of the seats in September but not an absolute majority.

The conservative and liberal parties that backed former prime minister John Fredrik Reinfeldt’s government also fell short of a majority. Although they hold the balance of power, the Sweden Democrats are shunned by all other parties.

The right-wing Alliance is expected to introduce a budget proposal of its own. If the government’s fails to win enough support and the Sweden Democrats back the Alliance’s budget instead, Löfven would be legally obligated to carry it out — which could cause his coalition to collapse.

Another option is for the Sweden Democrats to abstain from the vote and allow the government’s budget to go through. But that would be difficult to explain to its supporters who expect the party to assert its power.

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