Opposition unwilling to topple weak government

6:53 min

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven's government is unlikely to be toppled by a vote on the budget, because the opposition is too weak to take over, says political scientist Nicholas Aylott to Radio Sweden.

This week the news broke that the red-green government has agreed with the Left Party on a spring budget proposal, with a headline measure of ten billion kronor per year for public services.

But although the main opposition party, the Moderates, has accused the government of being "careless" in its spending plans, the prime minister's spring budget will pass, says Nicholas Aylott, professor at Södertörn University.

"He's in quite a strong position, because the centre-right parties have said they are not going to put forward their own budget proposal".

In the 2014 election the centre-right Alliance lost power as it saw its share of the vote fall dramatically. But the Social Democrats and Greens, who formed a government, failed to secure a majority of the seats in parliament, and even with the Left Party on board the budget can merely claim to have the biggest bloc behind it, not a majority.

The solution agreed in December 2014 was for the Alliance to allow red-green budgets to win by default, by not putting forward a united Alliance budget. The xenophobic Sweden Democrat party, which is seen by all parties as too extreme to work with, would then be unable to repeat its move of voting for an opposition budget in order to topple the red-green government.

"The basic fact of the matter, is that the difficult situation the government suffers in parliament would be replicated if the main parties of the centre-right took over instead. They too lack a parliamentary majority."

Nicholas Aylott says it does not look likely that any party is willing to line up with the Sweden Democrats, but he sees this country's party system as going through a period of change.

He says for almost all the 20th century the basic Swedish political conflict was left versus right, but now, since the Sweden Democrats effectively form a third bloc, with 13 per cent of the vote, they deny both left and right a chance at forming a strong government.