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POLITICS

Magdalena Andersson nominated as Sweden’s new prime minister

Social Democrat leader Magdalena Andersson will face her first big test on Wednesday, when parliament will vote on whether or not to confirm her as Sweden's first female prime minister.

Magdalena Andersson nominated as Sweden's new prime minister
Social Democrat leader Magdalena Andersson, left, and speaker of parliament Andreas Norlén, on Monday. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Andersson’s deadline to secure a deal with parliamentary parties to enable her to become Sweden’s new prime minister ran out at noon on Monday. After ten days of negotiations with the Left Party, she has yet to reach an agreement, meaning that she has not yet secured enough votes for her prime minister bid to be secure.

After reporting the results of negotiations to parliamentary speaker Andreas Norlén, he announced that he will nominate her to be Sweden’s new prime minister, meaning that parliament will decide whether to approve or reject her nomination on Wednesday. Andersson had not requested more time to negotiate.

The vote will be held at 9am on Wednesday.

The government’s new budget will also be approved or denied in a separate vote later on Wednesday afternoon.

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 in order to take power. But with the slim margins in the Swedish parliament, that is not actually a safe guarantee.

Andersson needs to win the votes or abstentions of both the Centre Party’s 31 MPs and the Left Party’s 28 MPs. Together with the government coalition parties’ 100 Social Democrat MPs and 16 Green Party MPs, this would bring her to the magic majority of 175 mandates (the right-wing parties have 174). She has already reached an agreement with the Centre Party.

Norlén said in the press conference that he has chosen to nominate Andersson despite her not securing an agreement with the Left Party, stating that “there is time before the vote to complete negotiations”.

If the Left Party and the Social Democrats do not reach an agreement by Wednesday, Andersson risks losing the prime minister vote in parliament – meaning that Norlén may try and find another candidate for the position, or that Andersson may have to restart negotiations.

The speaker has four chances to nominate a prime minister – if all of these fail, then there will be a new election.

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MILITARY

Macron urges Turkey to respect Finland, Sweden NATO choice

French President Emmanuel Macron asked his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday to "respect the sovereign choice" of Finland and Sweden to join NATO.

Macron urges Turkey to respect Finland, Sweden NATO choice

He was hoping to avoid Ankara vetoing their requests to join the trans-Atlantic defence pact.

Turkey warned Wednesday that the NATO accession process for Sweden and Finland would not move forward unless they addressed Ankara’s security concerns, a reference to their supposed sympathy toward Kurdish militant groups.

“The president underscored the need to respect the sovereign choice of these two countries, which emerged from a democratic process and in reaction to the changes in their security environment,” Macron’s office said after a telephone call with Erdogan.

“He said he hoped the discussions would continue to find a solution quickly,” his office added.

Stockholm and Helsinki submitted their bids to join NATO last week, reversing decades of military non-alignment, after political and public support for membership soared following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

But Turkey, a NATO member, is throwing a spanner in the works as any membership must be unanimously approved by all alliance members.

Ankara accuses Stockholm in particular of providing a haven for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a terror group by Turkey and its Western allies.

Erdogan is also weighing a new military operation in northern Syria aimed at crushing Syrian Kurdish fighters who assisted the US-led campaign against the Islamic State group.

Such an incursion risks creating new tensions between Ankara and other NATO members, with the US warning this week that its soldiers could be put in jeopardy.

During the call between Erdogan and Macron, the two leaders agreed to continue efforts to restart Ukraine grain exports now that Russian forces control most of the country’s ports, in order to avoid food shortages that threaten several developing countries.

But the Kremlin denied Monday any blame for the halted grain deliveries, and accused Western countries of preventing cargo vessels from leaving Ukrainian ports.

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