Swedish Right Pulls Out of Budget Deal with Löfven

Sweden’s ruling Social Democrats may need to call snap elections after losing the opposition’s support.

Swedish prime minister Stefan Löfven gives a speech in Stockholm, September 6
Swedish prime minister Stefan Löfven gives a speech in Stockholm, September 6 (Socialdemokraterna)

Sweden’s right-wing parties pulled out of a budget deal with the ruling Social Democrats on Friday, depriving Prime Minister Stefan Löfven of a majority and raising the specter of early elections.

Christian Democrat members, whose party is the smallest in the opposition Alliance, voted at a conference on Friday to abandon the pact with Löfven. The other conservative parties that most recently ruled Sweden from 2006 to 2014 followed suit this weekend.

They had propped up Löfven’s minority government since late last year when it failed to enact a budget of its own.

Dissatisfied

Many right-wing voters were dissatisfied that their leaders backed a government that is rolling back liberal economic reforms.

“We don’t accept that a left-wing, socialist policy is pushed through the Swedish parliament even though it lacks support,” said Anders Andersson, a Christian Democrat who argued for ending the accord at the conference on Friday.

Early elections

Neither the ruling left nor the four Alliance parties have a majority. The nationalist Sweden Democrats hold the balance of power in parliament but they are shunned by the mainstream parties because of their anti-immigration views.

The Alliance would have to team up with the Sweden Democrats to force Löfven out of office. But if he can’t find a working majority, he is more likely to call an election.

Polls suggest snap elections — which are rare in Sweden — would do little to change the composition of parliament.

With Sweden expecting a record number of asylum seekers this year, the nationalists are the only ones adamantly opposed to letting in more immigrants. Their popularity has steadily risen as a result. One poll in August even had them as the largest party.

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