For the first time in history, the Swedish Prime Minister lost the vote of confidence, Stefan Lofven will take a 'big decision' in a week amid political turmoil
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven lost a vote of confidence on Monday, making him the first Swedish government leader to be defeated on such a proposal. Stefan Löfven of the Social Democratic Party has been the Prime Minister since 2014. After this development, political instability has increased in the Scandinavian country. Parliament was deadlocked in the 2018 elections and negotiations continued for months to form the government.
Under Sweden's constitution, the prime minister has to decide within a week whether he wants to hold re-election or ask the speaker of parliament to form a new government. Lofven said he is looking for "some time, but not necessarily a full week" to decide on the next course of action. This government was a minority government of the Social Democratic-Green coalition which relied on a smaller left party to pass laws.
181 MPs voted 'against'
A no-confidence motion against Löfven's government was moved by the nationalist 'Sweden Democrats' party, and the government was reduced to a minority after the Left Party withdrew support for a proposed law to tackle the housing shortage. 181 MPs voted against Löfven while 109 MPs voted for him. 51 MPs remained absent.
The Left party said it lost faith in Löfven because of the proposal to abolish rent controls for newly built houses. Sweden has tighter rent controls that aim to keep rates affordable in the big cities. However, this has led to less enthusiasm among builders to invest in building new homes for the rental market.
PM convenes meeting to garner majority
The Left party fears that deregulating the rent market will lead to a sharp rise in prices and widen the gap between the poor and the rich. After the vote, 63-year-old Lofven said, "Whatever it is, my party and I will be ready to take over the leadership of the country." He said that my focus will be on what we can do better for Sweden. Lofven called a meeting over the weekend to gather a majority in parliament for his proposed fare reform.
Opposition alleges political show
On Sunday, he signaled a easing of reforms and said landlords and tenant organizations would be invited for talks. However, Left Party leader Nushi Dadgoster stood firm on her decision to oppose Löfven, saying her effort was a "political sham". Sweden has a population of 10 million and in 2015 it harbored a record 163 thousand refugees, the highest number of any European country.