Debate in parliament with Jimmie Åkesson, Fredrik Reinfeldt, Annie Lööf, Stefan Löfven. Photo: TT.

Former PM Reinfeldt warns of crisis if budget not passed

The former prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt warned that Sweden faces a "real crisis" if the government's budget is not passed by parliament next month, but did not want to speculate on how the Sweden Democrats will vote.

The anti-immigration Sweden Democrats have not yet made clear whether the party, after its own budget is voted down, will abstain from the budget vote  - which is standard practice - or vote for the alliance parties' proposals. The leader of the Sweden Democrats, Jimmi Åkesson, is currently signed off on sick leave.  

In an interview with news agency Bloomberg's TV channel, Fredrik Reinfeldt said that Sweden faced a "real crisis" if the new government's budget is not passed. He also said that it would be "very strange" if the opposition did not vote on its own draft budget because it needed both a government and an opposition in a democracy.

The former prime minister's likely successor as leader of the Moderate Party, Anna  Kinberg Batra, told media on Monday that the Alliance had not looked at the prospect of whether the Sweden Democrats would vote for their budget proposals or not. She said that the Alliance only concerned itself with its own policies.

"We want our budget to be implemented, therefore, we take the responsibility to vote for our budget and do not relate to others," she said during Monday's shadow budget press conference.  

Parliament will vote in early December on the framework of the state budget and then determine if the minority red-green government gets through with its budget motion. 
Regarding the Sweden Democrats' highest profile issue, reducing the number of asylum seekers coming to Sweden, there is no difference between the government and the Alliance's budget options.

"We take our responsibility in a troubled world and there we do not differ from the government," said Anna Kinberg Batra.

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven told news agency TT on Monday that it was "a hypothetical question" whether the Sweden Democrats would vote for the budget of the opposition Alliance.

"But it's clear, that we will not sit and rule on someone else's budget. That we will not do. That's upto the Sweden Democrats to decide. And that is what the Swedish people need to hear: What's at stake?"

According to Stefan Löfven, the Sweden Democrats risk toppling a government that wants to invest in better school performance, getting young people into working life, lowering taxes for retirees, and putting more resources into elderly care. 

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