Brussels (Brussels Morning) Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven resigned on Monday
morning, abandoning the attempt to assemble a new parliamentary majority ahead of the
midnight deadline. Lofven’s decision not to call a snap general election meant it is up to the
Speaker of the Swedish Parliament to try and assemble a new government.
Lofven had been given a week to either resign or call an election after last Monday’s historic vote, when he became the first Swedish PM to be recalled in a vote of no confidence. Lofven entered his second term as PM after the 2018 elections, heading a minority government, having failed over four months to acquire majority support within a divided parliament.
The PM relied on a minority coalition with support from the left-wing Left Party, which chose not to participate in the government. On several occasions, the Left Party had threatened to withdraw its support, before opting not to at the last minute. However, the final straw proved to be Lofven’s plans to remove rent price caps for landlords.
Once the Left Party announced it would withdraw its support, the right-wing Swedish Democrats called for the no-confidence vote, which proved successful in removing the former union leader from power.
Announcing his resignation on Monday, Lofven said it was the most difficult political decision he
had ever taken. He stressed that his priority was to make a choice in the best interest of
Sweden. His resignation, he claimed, would remove the need to call an election in the middle of
the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
A new poll could still be on the cards, however, if the Speaker of the Riksdag, Andreas Norlén, fails to find a workable majority after consultations with all the parliamentary parties. Since the parliament is more or less evenly divided, Norlén could yet be forced to call snap elections. Polls indicate that if that were the case, elections would likely return a similar parliamentary mix, one equally incapable of agreeing on a new government.