Swedish PM rejects opposition calls to eject Green Party

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven shuns calls by opposition to oust Green Party from power

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven

Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said on Sunday he had no plans to oust the Green Party from his government but that he wanted more cooperation with the centre-right opposition.

On Friday a grassroots rebellion at the Christian Democrats convention prompted the smallest opposition party to vote to pull out of an accord to let the minority government's budgets through parliament, and the other centre-right parties quickly followed.

The deal was struck just 10 months ago to avoid new elections after the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, which holds the balance of power, brought down the centre-left minority government's budget by voting for the centre-right opposition's bill instead of its own.

Analyst feared the collapse of the deal could bring about the first snap election in Sweden in over half a century.

But in a televised debate on Sunday, PM Lofven of the Social Democrats rejected calls from the opposition Liberals to oust the Greens from government in order to facilitate smoother cooperation with the opposition.

"Forming a new government is not on the agenda," said PM Lofven. "But I welcome the attitude (of cooperation)."

Several other party leaders in the debate talked of the need for cooperation and Anna Kinberg-Batra of the Moderate party, the largest opposition party, said she would not try to bring down the government's budget in a parliamentary vote in December or to use the possibility to alter it after it had passed.

"Sweden is facing acute challenges and it would not be responsible to throw Sweden into a political crisis now," she said.

The only party to make substantial gains in the polls since last year's election is the Sweden Democrats. Most analysts deem a snap election unlikely as it would probably not to break the SwedenDemocrat's balance of power.