Sweden’s centre-left prime minister will be forced to step down after losing parliament’s support in a vote of no confidence.
Stefan Lofven, who has been in power since 2014, will resign after MPs voted 204-142 to remove him as prime minister on Tuesday, weeks after the country’s general election delivered a hung parliament.
Sweden now faces political uncertainly as neither of the major political blocs have the majority needed to form a new government.
Mr Lofven, leader of the Social Democratic Party, will continue as a caretaker prime minister until a new government is decided by the Riksdagen, the country’s legislature.
The country’s general election on 9 September stripped the incumbent Social Democrat-Green coalition of its majority when it won 144 seats, just one more than the Alliance coalition.
At the same time, the right-wing anti-immigration Sweden Democrats clinched 17.6% of the vote, its highest ever score, adding to fears of the rise in far-right populism across Europe.
Andreas Norlen, a centre-right Moderate party politician who was elected parliament Speaker on Monday, will now propose a new leader with the majority needed to form a new government.
He will have four attempts to find a new government and if the deadlock continues, the country will hold another general election within three months.
Analysts predict he will choose Ulf Kristersson, leader of the Moderates – the biggest Alliance party – to attempt to form a new administration.
With no majority in the 349-seat parliament, Mr Kristersson will need support from the Sweden Democrats or the Social Democrats.
The Alliance of the Moderates, Centre, Liberals and Christian Democrats parties has said it will not negotiate with the Sweden Democrats, which wants to halt immigration and hold a new vote on membership of the European Union.
Mr Lofven, who is optimistic that he might be able to form a government, said after the vote that he was “available for talks” with other parties, but categorically ruled out a coalition with the Sweden Democrats.
He said: “Time after time, their connections to racist and Nazi organisations have been exposed.”
He added that his party would not back an Alliance government that would continue the political stalemate.
“I wanted to continue to lead the country as prime minister,” he said.
“I want to lead a government that has broader support in the country’s parliament and that allows us to leave stalemate of bloc politics.”
Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Akesson said his party would only support a government that would give them a say in policy.
He said: “We will do everything in our power to stop any attempt to form a government, do everything to bring down every government, which does not give us a reasonable influence in proportion to our electoral support.”
From – SkyNews