Sweden took a new step towards the formation of a right-wing government after the Social Democratic Prime Minister, Magdalena Andersson, formalized her resignation yesterday, announced yesterday after admitting defeat in Sunday’s legislative elections.
The final count of the Electoral Authority, which includes the external vote and the early votes sent within the deadline but that did not arrive on time, certified on Wednesday the victory of the right-wing bloc, which is imposed on the center-left by seven tenths or three seats ( 49.5% and 176 for 48.8% and 173).
Andersson, who will continue to lead an acting executive, went to Parliament to present his resignation to its president Andreas Norlén, who this Monday will receive separately the leaders of the eight parliamentary forces and will presumably commission the conservative Ulf Kristersson to form a government later.
Kristersson’s (conservative) Moderate Party was third, with 19.1%, behind Andersson’s Social Democrats, with 30.3%, and the far-right Sweden Democrats (SD), with 20.5%, the great winner of the elections, but without real options to govern.
This far-right formation, with neo-Nazi roots at its foundation, has been subjected to a “sanitary cordon” by the rest of the forces since its entry into Parliament in 2010, which explains why the Social Democrats have governed in a minority the last two legislatures despite because there was a right-wing majority in the Chamber.
Conservatives, Christian Democrats and Liberals have been open in the last year to break that isolation and agree with the SD, but they reject their entry into an executive, a demand that the extreme right could accept in exchange for gaining political influence. “Now the work begins to form a new government,” Kristersson wrote yesterday on his Facebook account after Andersson accepted electoral defeat.
Kristersson already received separately on Monday in his offices the leaders of the other three forces of the right-wing bloc, and contacts have intensified in recent days, according to Swedish media, although the protagonists keep a low profile. Kristersson’s preferred option is a minority executive with the Christian Democrats, supported by Liberals and the SD, two forces that have a complicated relationship and are mutually exclusive in a hypothetical government.
Apart from the internal quarrels, the negotiations are difficult due to differences on some issues such as unemployment and health insurance, which the Conservatives want to lower and which the SD considers a “red” line.
Agreement seems easier on issues such as crime and immigration or on energy policy, where all four parties are in favor of promoting nuclear energy.
What does seem unlikely is that the talks will last up to 131 days, as happened in 2018, a record in Sweden, when a pact between Social Democrats and environmentalists with two right-wing forces was necessary to break the political blockade. “I have told (Norlén) that if the Conservatives change their minds and want to collaborate with me instead of the SD, my door is open,” Andersson said yesterday.