Opposition pushes ahead with no-confidence motion against defence minister

The opposition Alliance parties said on Thursday afternoon that they would push on with their no-confidence motion against the defence minister, despite Prime Minister Stefan Löfven's cabinet reshuffle.

Opposition pushes ahead with no-confidence motion against defence minister
The Alliance party leaders. From left to right: Annie Lööf (Centre Party), Anna Kinberg Batra (Moderates), Ebba Busch Thor (Christian Democrats) and Jan Björklund (Liberals). Photo: Erik Simander/TT
The three ministers targeted by the motion were Infrastructure Minister Anna Johansson, Interior Minister Anders Ygeman and Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist.
Johansson was dismissed and Ygeman resigned voluntarily, while Löfven decided to hold on to Defence Minister Hultqvist.
Peter Hultqvist
Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist. Photo: Erik Simander/TT
In a joint statement on Thursday afternoon, the Alliance – made up of the Moderates, the Centre, the Christian Democrats and the Liberals – announced it would push ahead as planned with its no-confidence motion against Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist. 
“We welcome the dismissal of Anna Johansson and Anders Ygeman. They bear a large responsibility for the security crisis Sweden has ended up in. But Peter Hultqvist bears the same responsibility, so our criticism against him remains,” Liberal Party Leader Jan Björklund told TT newswire.
While the four-party coalition had previously requested an extraordinary session in the Riksdag, which is currently in recess over the summer, they now stated that request would be withdrawn.
The vote of no confidence will now instead take place after the opening of the Riksdag in September, “unless something new has emerged by then to justify a different assessment”, they said.
Jimmie Åkesson, leader of the nationalist Sweden Democrats, also said his support for the no-confidence motion against Hultqvist remained.
“It is possible that he is the least responsible out of the three, but he bears responsibility nonetheless. He did not inform the prime minister about his knowledge (of the situation),” Åkesson told TT newswire.
Löfven declared that he would remain prime minister until the 2018 general election, even if Hultqvist were not to survive the no-confidence motion.
“In that case, I will deal with that situation. I am the country's prime minister, and I will have to deal with that,” Löfven told Dagens Nyheter.