Swedish Nationalists Block Löfven’s Budget Bill

Without a majority for his spending plan, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven could be forced to resign.

Swedish prime minister Stefan Löfven makes a speech in Stockholm, March 8
Swedish prime minister Stefan Löfven makes a speech in Stockholm, March 8 (Trausti Evans)

Sweden’s anti-immigration nationalists said on Tuesday they would back the conservative opposition’s budget proposal over the government’s, putting Prime Minister Stefan Löfven’s political survival in doubt.

Earlier, Löfven had suggested he would stand down if his minority government of Social Democrats and Green failed to win parliamentary support for its spending plans.

The conservative and liberal Alliance introduced a budget proposal of its own on Tuesday. If the Sweden Democrats indeed vote with the Alliance parties, Löfven would be legally obligated to carry out their plans.

Short of resigning and forcing snap elections — something that hasn’t happened since 1958 — the prime minister could send his budget back to committee for amendments in an attempt to win support from centrist opposition parties. However, the Center Party and the Christian Democrats, who are ideologically closest to Löfven, rebuffed his overtures earlier this year when he tried to lure them into a coalition.

Löfven’s Social Democrats won a plurality of the seats in parliament with 31 percent support in September’s election which led to the resignation of Alliance leader John Fredrik Reinfeldt.

The Sweden Democrats came in third with almost 13 percent support, giving them the balance of power. Yet all other parties ruled out joining them in a coalition.