COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) – Swedish interim Prime Minister Stefan Lofven moved closer to forming a new governing coalition on Monday after the speaker of the country’s parliament said Lofven had enough backing to form a bipartisan cabinet .
President Andreas Norlen said Lofven told him he could find enough support in the 349 seats in the Riksdag needed to form a cabinet. A parliament vote on his government is scheduled for Wednesday, and Lofven is expected to present his government on Friday.
“Stefan Lofven has a solution that can be tolerated by the Riksdag,” Norlen said at a press conference. “I will therefore nominate Stefan Lofven as candidate for the post of Prime Minister.”
Monday’s development means two groups, the Center Party and the Left Party, will abstain from voting against Lofven and two – his own Social Democrats and the Greens – will vote for him. This gives Lofven 175 lawmakers in the Riksdagen – the exact number of seats needed to secure a majority.
In Sweden prime ministers can govern as long as there is no majority against them.
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Neither the centrists nor the Left Party are part of the interim government, but they support it.
Lofven, 63, lost a vote of no confidence on June 21 called by the right-wing populist party of the Swedish Democrats. The move succeeded because the Left Party, a government ally, had withdrawn its support for the Lofven administration over proposed legislation to tackle the housing shortage.
Until then, Lofven led a minority government made up of a coalition between the Social Democrats and the Greens. His party holds 100 out of 349 seats in parliament.
Lofven, who has headed the Swedish government since 2014, remains interim prime minister until a new government is formed.
Instead of calling early elections, as the Swedish constitution allows, Lofven opted for the coalition-building process overseen by Norlen.
The first to be tasked by Norlen with trying to form a new coalition government was the leader of the moderate center-right opposition party, Ulf Kristersson. However, he failed and said he was only able to get 174 lawmakers behind him.
The next general elections in Sweden are scheduled for September 11, 2022.
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