Magdalena Andersson gets new deadline to seek support for PM bid

Social Democrat leader Magdalena Andersson will get another week to try to gather enough support – or at least acceptance – to become Sweden’s new prime minister.

Magdalena Andersson gets new deadline to seek support for PM bid
Sweden's maybe-soon-to-be prime minister Magdalena Andersson. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Parliamentary speaker Andreas Norlén decided on Tuesday to extend Andersson’s deadline until Monday.

“I was informed that there’s progress but more time is needed. I want Sweden to urgently get a new government, but at the same time the work should not be forced,” said Norlén in a statement after meeting with Andersson on Tuesday morning.

Under Sweden’s system of negative parliamentarianism, a prime ministerial candidate needs only to convince a majority of members of parliament not to vote against them. But with the slim margins in the Swedish parliament, that is not a safe guarantee.

Andersson needs either the votes or the abstentions of the Left Party’s 28 MPs – which she has not yet secured. Together with the government’s 100 Social Democrat MPs and 16 Green Party MPs, and the Centre Party’s 31 MPs, this will bring her to the magic majority of 175 mandates (the right-wing parties have 174 seats in parliament).

The Left Party has made being brought back into negotiations its main demand for supporting (usually described as “tolerating” in Sweden, since abstaining is enough to let a candidate through) Andersson as the new prime minister, so one factor is the outcome of those talks.

Andersson said on Tuesday that “constructive talks” with the Left Party were ongoing and that she was “prepared to make some concessions”, although the TT newswire reported that she would not be drawn on what issues she would consider compromising on.

Left Party leader Nooshi Dadgostar has previously mentioned higher pensions and scrapping Sweden’s unpaid first day of sick leave (karensdag) as two policy changes she would like to see, but she has also indicated that she would be willing to compromise.

Before the firm Monday deadline, Andersson is set to give Norlén an update on how negotiations are progressing by Friday.

If Norlén wants to, he will be able to propose Andersson as a candidate to parliament on November 24th at the earliest. He can do this either if he thinks her government has a good chance of being accepted, or even if he thinks it doesn’t, just to move the process on. He can also decide to give her more time to conclude negotiations, or hand the job of trying to form a government over to another party leader.

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Koran burnings by Danish far-Right extremist no longer causing riots, Swedish police say

Swedish police said there have been no disturbances associated with the Koran burning by Danish far-Right extremist Rasmus Paludan and his party Stram Kurs ("Hard Line") this week around Stockholm, unlike the riots seen over Easter.

Koran burnings by Danish far-Right extremist no longer causing riots, Swedish police say

Paludan and his party have been holding demonstrations this week involving burning the Koran, in what Paludan describes as an “election tour” ahead of standing in Sweden’s parliamentary election in September.

However Swedish newswire TT has reported that few people have seemed to care about the shock tactics used and police have confirmed that no major disturbances have occurred as a result of the demonstrations.

This is in stark contrast to the demonstrations over Easter, which resulted in riots involving vandalism and violence aimed primarily at police. A total of 26 police officers were injured and at least 40 people were arrested.

“The police did not anticipate the extent of the protests and the enormous violence that the Easter riots brought with them. I don’t know if we have seen anything similar in Sweden in modern times,” Sten Widmalm, political scientist at Uppsala University, told newswire TT.

Widmalm says there are now fewer people turning up at Paludan’s demonstrations because of the number of people charged over the Easter riots. He also noted the increased police presence and adapted resources by the police, which has stopped anyone getting close to using violence.

Everyone that TT newswire spoke to a demonstration in Fittja torg, said they knew Paludan’s aim was to provoke people.

“I am a Muslim myself and I don’t care. For a true Muslim, all religions are equal. His message is to create conflict and irritation. You shouldn’t give him that,” Himmet Kaya told TT. 

According to Widmalm, there is nothing to indicate that Paludan will be successful at the Swedish election.

“On the other hand, I think that Stram Kurs has influenced Swedish politics very much in such a way that it has exposed large gaps in society. I think awareness of these has increased, due to the Easter riots – although it’s nothing to thank Paludan for.”

In Sweden, you must be a Swedish citizen in order to be elected to parliament. Paludan’s father is Swedish, and he applied for and was granted Swedish citizenship in 2020.

In order to enter the Swedish parliament, Paludan must win at least four percent of the vote in the upcoming election.

In 2019, Paludan stood in Danish parliamentary elections, achieving only 1.8 percent of the vote. Under Denmark’s proportional representation system, parties must achieve at least two percent of the vote in order to enter the Danish parliament.