Swedish Political Crisis Threatens Democracy

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The Riksdag, Stockholm: home of Sweden’s threatened democracy (image source)

The inevitable political crisis in Sweden loomed yesterday as embattled Prime Minister Lofven refused to resign over the government’s “disastrous leak” of the nation’s citizens’ information. Lofven commented “I don’t want political chaos in Sweden, that’s not what we need right now, I will take responsibility and ensure we don’t get a political crisis.” What he decided to do however seems more lioke kicking the can down the road that addressing the problem.

as Bloomberg reported that, opposition parties have already signalled that they are less than impressed with the steps taken by the ruling coalition and Lofven’s government remains far from secure. In the current political mood a confidence vote would probably see Lofven’s government fall and in the ensuing election the anti – EU, anti – Islamification Sweden Democrats (usually described by mainstream media as far right, though apart from their positions on the EU and immigration they are very liberal) and the Moderate party, which has recently taken a hard line on immigration as organised crime gangs which have formed in Muslim ghettos are spreading their operation into middle class suburbs.

The prime minister said Home Affairs Minister Anders Ygeman and Infrastructure Minister Anna Johansson will leave the Cabinet, as parties representing a majority in parliament prepared no-confidence motions against them.

Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist will stay, Lofven told reporters in Stockholm on Thursday, arguing the specific motion against him was “not serious.”

The announcement follows speculation the prime minister would himself be forced to resign, or call an early election, in response to the deepening scandal. With the reshuffle, Lofven is buying himself time to negotiate with parliament.

Anna Kinberg Batra, head of the Moderate Party that leads the opposition, on Wednesday blamed Lofven for throwing Sweden into “a serious security crisis.”

“Confidence in the defense minister is exhausted,” she said. “The prime minister hasn’t taken responsibility — so we will demand responsibility in parliament.”

The anti-immigration Sweden Democrats also said they remained committed to a no-confidence vote.

Political noise has erupted in Swedish news media, after the government botched its response to a security breach of classified information, and while there is no immediate threat to political stability, Lofven’s arrogance in dismissing citizens concerns have made his downfall and an early election more likely. One more immigrant riot, one more brutal gang rape of a Swedish woman by immigrants could be the tipping point both in government and in the streets.

By choosing to reshuffle his government and thus avoiding demands for his resignation Lofven “is now playing the ball back to opposition,” and the opposition parties are likely to proceed with a no-confidence vote against Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist, SEB says in note.

Initial comments from Christian Democrats, the main coalition partner of Lofven’s Social Democrat party indicate that opposition aims to continue to push for a vote of no confidence against Hultqvist; SEB says it will be very difficult for opposition to withdraw from that position.

“Most likely the call for the parliament to return from summer vacation in about 10 days still stands and most likely also Hultqvist will be forced out of office.

That means threat of government crisis will remain in near term.

“The opposition will continue to put pressure on the government to show political strength, while the government will try to fend off attacks by indicating it could step down or even call a snap election, something the opposition most likely would like to avoid”

Swedish politics over the next 10 days “will be a chicken race”

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