Hultqvist survives vote of no-confidence

Defence minister Peter Hultqvist survived the no-confidence vote in parliament, after the Liberal and the Centre Party abstained.

After it was revealed this summer that Hultqvist had known about the security risks following the out-sourcing of IT-services at the Swedish Transport Agency, without informing the prime minister or the minister for transport, the centre-right opposition parties threatened with a vote of no-confidence in parliament.

Since then, however, the Liberal Party and the Centre Party have accepted his explanation that he assumed the prime minister knew, as his closest aide had been present at meetings where this was mentioned.

It takes 175 votes of no-confidence for a minister to be unseated. On Tuesday, there were 135 votes in favour of the motion, 137 against it, and then another 58 abstentions, which means Hultqvist remains as defence minister. Notably, the defence spokesperson for the Liberal Party did not tow the party line, and voted in favour of removing the minister from his post.

Berit Högman of the Social Democrats told news agency TT that what happened at the Transport agency was a disaster that should not have happened, but claims there were no grounds for Tuesday's vote.

"Peter Hultqvist assumed that the information was in the prime minister's offices," she said.

The group leader of the conservative Moderate Party MPs, Jessica Polfjärd, does however not agree. She says it is a mystery why so many ministers at so many occasions have had knowledge about things without passing them on.

"Even though the defence minister knew early on, he refrained from informing the prime minister," she told TT, adding that such a passive approach is unacceptable, as is Hultqvist neglecting to inform parliament.

Parliament can launch a vote of no-confidence against the prime minister or individual ministers. It takes a minimum of 35 MPs to back a no-confidence vote for it to take place, and at least 175 votes to remove a minister.

Since 1980, the Swedish parliament has voted nine times on an issue of no-confidence, but none of them have been successful.