In a no-confidence vote today, Monday Sweden’s parliament dismissed Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, giving him a week to quit and throw the burden of selecting a new government to the speaker, or call a quick election.
After the formerly communist Left Party dropped support for the centre-left government over a plan to remove rent controls for new-build apartments, the populist Sweden Democrats grabbed the opportunity to call the referendum.
Jimmie Akesson, the head of Sweden’s Democratic Party, told parliament that the government was detrimental and historically weak, adding, “It should never have come into power.”
181 members backed the no-confidence resolution, which needed 175 votes in the 349-seat parliament to pass.
Mr. Lofven (63) is the first Swedish prime minister to be deposed by an opposition no-confidence motion. He was scheduled to give a press conference later today.
Since a tight election in the European Union member state in 2018, his shaky minority coalition with the Green Party has relied on support in parliament from two small centre-right parties and the Left Party.
The Left Party blamed Mr Lofven for triggering the crisis.
“It is not the Left Party that has given up on the Social Democrat government, it is the Social Democrat government that has given up on the Left Party and the Swedish people,” Left Party leader Nooshi Dadgostar said.
With parliament deadlocked, it is unclear to whom the speaker might turn if Mr. Lofven resigns. Opinion polls indicate that the center-left and center-right blocs are evenly balanced, implying that a snap election would not provide clarity either.
Ms Dadgostar said that even though her party had voted against Mr. Lofven, it would never help “a right-wing nationalist government” take power.
A new government – or a caretaker administration – would sit only until a parliamentary election scheduled for September next year.