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Sweden Elects: Reactions as parliament set to vote on right-wing government

The Local's editor Emma Löfgren explains the key events to keep an eye on in Swedish politics this week.

Sweden Elects: Reactions as parliament set to vote on right-wing government
From left, Jimmie Åkesson (Sweden Democrats), Ulf Kristersson (Moderates), Ebba Busch (Christian Democrats) and Johan Pehrson (Liberals). Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT


Over a month after the Swedish election, Ulf Kristersson managed to strike a coalition deal that will enable his Moderates to form a government together with the Christian Democrats and Liberals (and with the support of the Sweden Democrats, who will not be in government, at least not formally).

Here are the key articles to find out how their 63-page Tidö Agreement affects you:

So what happens next?

Parliament will vote today on whether or not to accept Ulf Kristersson as prime minister. According to the Swedish system for prime ministerial votes, he doesn’t need a majority to vote for him, only a majority not to vote against him, so abstentions effectively count as votes in favour.

That vote is set to take place at 11am today. If Kristersson is accepted, he will address parliament at 9.30am tomorrow to set out the policy for his government in the year ahead, and present his new cabinet.

Then, at 1pm tomorrow he will meet King Carl XVI Gustaf for a so-called skifteskonselj. This is the moment he officially becomes prime minister.

Will Kristersson win the vote in parliament? The margins are pretty slim (176 seats to 173), so if only two rebelling Liberals vote against him, he loses. But it’s more likely that they’ll abstain than vote no – a way to quietly protest without actually going against the party line – and, remember, abstentions are effectively yes votes.

I mention the Liberals because they’re the party that is the most split over their leadership’s pre-election decision to join forces with the right wing, uncomfortable with such close links to the far-right Sweden Democrats.

But it is perhaps more likely that individual Liberal MPs will vote no to any future legislation they don’t like, rather than opposing the formation of this government.

The fact that they managed to get a government portfolio (the new cabinet hasn’t been announced yet, but Liberal party leader Johan Pehrson is understood to have his eyes set on education) is seen by many within the party as enough of a victory that they can live with some of the issues they had to concede ground on.

Most of the criticism has come from Liberals who aren’t in parliament.

“Nobody could call these proposals liberal policy. But it’s the price you pay if you want to be in government with a very large nationalist party,” Jan Jönsson, a Liberal councillor in Stockholm, told Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, calling the deal “worse than expected”.

“If so, he’s only read half of it. You have to read the whole [document],” Pehrson told Dagens Nyheter in response to the criticism. “You have to give and take. So that’s an unfair description, but of course [the agreement] is both sweet and salty.”

Barbro Westerholm, a party elder who didn’t stand for re-election in this election, told Aftonbladet she was considering leaving the party. “I was naïve enough to think SD wouldn’t get so much influence,” she said.

Whatever happens, it looks like the next four years under Kristersson are going to be just as politically wobbly as the centre-left’s previous eight years with Magdalena Andersson and Stefan Löfven.

The wings of history

The details of the new government agreement were hashed out at Tidö Slott, one of the best preserved palaces from the Swedish Empire.

The palace was built by Axel Oxenstierna in 1625-1641. Oxenstierna was perhaps one of the most influential statesmen in Swedish history, serving as Lord High Chancellor of Sweden from 1612 until his death.

Oxenstierna is to thank or blame for the creation of the modern Swedish decentralisation of power, where much of the day-to-day administrative power is held by the regions, not by the state.

Did you know?

Sweden isn’t historically a country where it takes a long time to form a government. This is now its second longest period of post-election negotiations in modern times.

The top spot obviously goes to the infamous 134 days after the 2018 election, and the third longest was in 1979 (which I got from Aftonbladet), when it took 26 days to get a new government.

It crumbled a year and a half later in a row over tax reform.

Sweden Elects is a weekly column by Editor Emma Löfgren looking at the big talking points and issues after the Swedish election. Members of The Local Sweden can sign up to receive the column as a newsletter in their email inbox each week. Just click on this “newsletters” option or visit the menu bar.

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Swedish prime minister seeks military help to crack down on gangs

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said in a televised speech that he would meet with the commander in chief of the military, among others, after a spate of violence that has claimed the lives of a growing number of children and bystanders.

Swedish prime minister seeks military help to crack down on gangs

Kristersson said he would meet on Friday with the national chief of police and commander in chief Micael Bydén “to see how the armed forces can help the police fight the gangs”.

The Scandinavian country has in recent years been in the grip of a bloody conflict between gangs fighting over arms and drug trafficking, which has escalated over vendettas between the gangs.


Apartment buildings and homes across the country are frequently rocked by explosions, and shootings in public places have become regular occurrences in the usually tranquil country.

“We are going to hunt down the gangs. We are going to defeat the gangs,” Kristersson said in a televised address to the nation on Thursday evening, after three people were killed in shootings and explosions overnight on Wednesday.

An 18-year-old man was shot dead at a crowded football pitch early Wednesday evening in a well-off Stockholm suburb, police said.

A second shooting took place around midnight in another Stockholm suburb, injuring two people, one of whom later died, police said, adding that three suspects had been arrested in that case.

Several hours later, an explosion near the university town of Uppsala, 70 kilometres north of Stockholm, damaged five homes and killed a woman in her mid-20s with no known connection to the gangs, according to police.

The surge in killings has shocked Swedes.

“Crime has reached unprecedented levels. The situation is very serious in Uppsala, and in the rest of the country,” Uppsala police official Catarina Bowall told reporters.

According to a tally by Swedish public television SVT, 12 people have been killed in shootings and explosions in September, the deadliest month in terms of fatal shootings in the past four years.

One of the dead was a 13-year-old boy whose body was found dumped in a wooded area. Prosecutors said they believed he was a victim of the gang violence.

“An increasing number of children and completely innocent people are affected by this extreme violence,” Kristersson said.

“Sweden has never seen anything like this. No other country in Europe is seeing anything like this.”

He said serious organised crime had risen over the past decade “due to naiveté”.

“An irresponsible immigration policy and failed integration led us here,” the conservative leader said.

“Swedish legislation was not designed for gang wars and child soldiers. But we’re changing that now,” he said.

He noted new legislation entering into force in the coming days enabling police to wiretap gangs, as well as plans for body searches in some areas, harsher sentences for repeat offenders and double sentences for certain crimes.

“We’ll put them on trial. If they are Swedish citizens they will be locked away with long prison sentences, and if they are foreigners they will be deported,” he said.

“We are going to deport foreigners who move in criminal gang circles even if they haven’t committed a crime,” he said.

He said Sweden also needed to introduce surveillance cameras in public places and build special prisons for teenage criminals.

In 2022, Sweden registered 391 shootings, 62 of which were fatal.