Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven lost a confidence vote in Parliament on Tuesday after far-right Sweden’s Democratic-backed centre-right alliance made a bid to oust the Social Democrats.
Europe is at the centre of a crisis sparked by migration. In 2015 alone more than a million migrants and refugees crossed into Europe. A number of countries in the continent struggled to handle the influx of people entering their territories. Countries within the EU have had disagreements on how best to deal with the problem while also helping those seeking refuge.
At the beginning of Europe’s migration crisis in 2015, Sweden’s arms were wide open. Crowds gathered at train stations in large cities to welcome new arrivals. Swedes helped refugees get access to housing, medical care and other social benefits the country prides itself on.
By the end of that year, Sweden had taken in 163,000 asylum seekers, more than any other European country in comparison to its size. Swedes began to worry that Sweden and Germany were poised to bear Europe’s refugee burden largely alone.
In September 2018, the Swedish Election led to a stalemate as no party achieved a decisive majority to form a government. The anti-immigrant party Sweden Democrats recorded its largest ever haul of seats as the two main conservative parties lost out.
Read more about our analysis of the 2018 Swedish Parliamentary Elections here.
Prime Minister Stefan Lofven of Sweden lost a vote of confidence after an election this month led to the ouster of his minority coalition. There is a hung parliament and both main political blocs are refusing to cooperate with the anti-immigrant party, Sweden Democrats.
Lawmakers voted 204 to 142 against Mr. Lofven, while three abstained, after the election on Sept. 9 in which neither the left-leaning bloc led by the Social Democrats nor the Moderates-led centre-right opposition managed to secure a majority. The no-confidence vote was mandatory.
Mr. Lofven says he is still optimistic that he can form a government, but with neither bloc holding a majority and neither willing to work with the Sweden Democrats, the vote means Sweden faces weeks of political uncertainty.
The Social Democrats got 28.3% of the vote, while the Moderate Party received 19.8%. The Sweden Democrats, which made great strides, picked up 17.5%. The centre-left controls 144 seats and the centre-right holds 143 seats in Parliament, while the Sweden Democrats have 62 lawmakers in the assembly.
Andreas Norlen, a member of the centre-right Moderates, was elected on Monday as the speaker and was tasked with trying to find a member of Parliament who could command a majority and form a government. Mr. Norlen alone holds the authority to determine which of the party leaders can begin such talks. Alternatively, one of the blocs could form a minority government, but doing so needs cooperation from at least some members of the opposition, and in many cases requires concessions, too.
Mr. Lofven remained optimistic he could form a governing coalition but stopped short of saying with whom. “I am available for talks,” Lofven said after the vote of no confidence. He ruled out having any contacts with the Sweden Democrats, however, saying “time after time, their connections to racist and Nazi organizations have been exposed.”
The no-confidence motion was just a reaction to the hung parliament and leaves no measurable impact on the present minority government. Mr. Lovren now runs a caretaker government until the parties decide on a coalition.
Our assessment is that Sweden is experiencing the aftershocks of the nationalistic wave which swept Europe after the Brexit vote in 2016. We believe that Sweden will not elect the far-right party with a majority but the polls are showing a distinct favour for the Sweden Democrats. We feel that they will end up supporting another party in the government, or will become one of the largest opposition parties.