August 3, 2021

In Sweden, the coalition falls on the liberalization of rents

It is a historic vote which took place in the Swedish Parliament, Monday June 21: for the first time in the history of the country, a government was toppled by a vote of no confidence of the deputies. In power since 2014, Social Democratic Prime Minister Stefan Löfven now has two options: resign and let the Speaker of Parliament start negotiations to find a majority capable of forming a government – possibly, again under his leadership -, or organize elections, in order to elect a temporary Assembly, until the legislative elections of September 2022.

After the MEPs vote, Stefan Löfven noted that Sweden was now “In a very complicated political situation”. Because, as he recalled, the majority who dismissed him on Monday is only “Temporary” and made up of parties “Who have different points of view on political issues and do not have the will, nor the capacity, to jointly present an alternative to the government”. Stefan Löfven has until June 29 to resign or call an election.

Accelerating political crisis

A few days before the great feast of Midsommar (Midsummer’s Day), June 25, and while the school holidays began a week ago, the political crisis has accelerated in recent days, after the ultimatum posed to the government by the leader of the Left Party (Vänsterpartiet), Nooshi Dadgostar, on June 15. Targeted: the reform project providing for the liberalization of rents for new constructions. The government had 48 hours to withdraw the reform or initiate discussions with the Tenants Association, which is also opposed to the liberalization of rents. A delay that was not taken advantage of by Mr. Löfven to overcome the blockage.

The subject seems almost anecdotal in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has claimed more than 14,500 lives in Sweden, and as insecurity and immigration dominate the political agenda. But for the Left Party, this is a central question, recalls political scientist Jenny Madestam: “This affects the policy of redistribution and the party had said from the start that it would stop supporting the government if the principle of rent control was called into question. “

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To understand the current crisis, we must go back to the legislative elections of September 2018. Neither of the two traditional blocs had won a majority at the end of the ballot. It took four months for Stefan Löfven, a former trade union leader and seasoned negotiator, to move the lines in parliament: the centrists and the liberals, who had ruled with the conservatives and the Christian Democrats from 2006 to 2014, but refused to sideline. ‘lean on the voices of the far right (Democrats of Sweden) to form a center-right government, agreed to reach an agreement with the Social Democrats and the Greens, allowing Stefan Löfven to win a second term.

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