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Sweden resumes talks to find a new prime minister

Sweden's party leaders will meet with the parliamentary speaker for a second round of talks on Tuesday, with the aim of finding a candidate for prime minister who can lead a workable government.

Sweden resumes talks to find a new prime minister
Parliamentary speaker Andreas Norlén meeting with Social Democrats leader Stefan Löfven last week. Photo: Henrik Montgomery / TT

After the September 9th election left the two main blocs separated by just one seat, arriving at a compromise could be difficult, and the first round of talks last week didn't break the deadlock.

It is the job of newly-elected speaker Andreas Norlén to put forward a proposal for who should become prime minister, but this is only done after talks with the different leaders. On Friday, representatives from the parties appeared to call on Norlén to give one of the eight party leaders the go-ahead to start negotiations on forming a new government.

Both the centre-left bloc and the centre-right Alliance (Moderate Party, Christian Democrats, Centre Party and Liberal Party) believe they should be the one to lead Sweden's next government. If they can't find any common ground, the far-right Sweden Democrats, who are the third largest group, will be influential.

One possible result of Tuesday's talks is that Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson could be asked to try to form a new government, which would force Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven to talk with the centre-right Alliance.

The Social Democrats' spokesperson has said the right person to lead negotiations is Löfven — who was ousted from his job after losing a confidence vote last week, but continues to lead a caretaker administration.

Another possibility is that the Moderates and Christian Democrats might try to form a government with the support of the far-right Sweden Democrats (SD) but without the Alliance's other two parties, the Centre and the Liberals, which have said they will not work with the SD.

Norlén has four attempts to get parliament to agree to a new prime minister, or at least convince enough MPs to abstain and not actively vote against the candidate.

If they fail to agree on any of the four proposals, a new election must be held within three months. However, this has never happened in Swedish history.

READ ALSO: What's next for Sweden after confidence vote?

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2022 SWEDISH ELECTION

Sweden’s right-wing parties agree to bring back Norlén as Speaker 

The four parties backing Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson as prime minister on Sunday announced that they had agreed to keep the current Speaker, Andreas Norlén in place, when the role is put to a vote as parliament opens on Monday.

Sweden's right-wing parties agree to bring back Norlén as Speaker 

The parties won a three-seat majority over the bloc led by the incumbent Social Democrats in Sweden’s general election on September 11th, and are currently in the middle of negotiating how they will form Sweden’s next government. 

Sweden’s parliament meets at 11am for the official installation of the 349 MPs for this mandate period. The votes for the Speaker and three Deputy Speakers are the first item on the agenda, after which the parties each select their parliamentary leaders and then vote on who should chair each of the parliamentary committees. 

READ ALSO: What happens next as parliament reopens? 

In a joint press release announcing the decision, the parties also agreed that the Sweden Democrats would be given eight of the 16 chairmanships the bloc will have of parliamentary committees in the next parliament, and that MPs for all four parties would back Julia Kronlid, the Sweden Democrats’ Second Deputy Leader, as the second deputy Speaker, serving under Norlén. 

In the press release, the parties said that Norlén had over the last four years shown that he has “the necessary personal qualities and qualifications which the role requires”. 

The decision to retain Norlén, who presided over the 134 days of talks and parliamentary votes that led to the January Agreement in 2019, was praised by Social Democrat leader Magdalena Andersson. 

Norlén, she said in a statement, had “managed his responsibilities well over the past four years and been a good representative of Sweden’s Riksdag.” 

The decision to appoint Kronlid was opposed by both the Left Party and the Green Party, who said that she supported tightening abortion legislation, and did not believe in evolution.

The Green Party’s joint leader Märta Stenevi said that her party “did not have confidence in Julia Kronlid”, pointing to an interview she gave in 2014 when she said she did not believe that humans were descended from apes.

The party has proposed its finance spokesperson Janine Alm Ericson as a rival candidate. 

The Left Party said it was planning to vote for the Centre Party’s candidate for the post second deputy Speaker in the hope of blocking Kronlid as a candidate.

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