Stefan Löfven presenterar "Decemberöverenskommelsen". Foto:
Six of Sweden's eight parties have made a deal. Photo: Henrik Montgomery / TT

Cross-party deal: no snap election

“This agreement makes it possible for a minority government to get its budget approved"
3:58 min

The government and opposition Alliance parties have made a “December deal” which will allow the weak red-green partnership to rule Sweden.

At a press conference on Saturday Prime Minister Stefan Löfven announced that from now on the party that has the single biggest coalition in the parliament will be allowed to get its budget passed.

In September the Social Democrats and Greens won a narrow victory by becoming the single biggest bloc, despite being in a minority on around 38 percent of the votes. And the government risked collapse when their budget was voted down in November.

On Saturday the centre-right Alliance promised that in the future they will abstain and not vote against the government’s budget. This agreement also means that if the red-greens end up as slightly smaller than the Alliance after next they would also not vote down the centre-right budget.

It was the pariah Sweden Democrat party that sank the government’s budget, by using its major support of 13 percent in the election to swing its votes behind the Alliance.

If the main two opposition blocs refuse to vote against each other’s budget this will mean the Sweden Democrats will no longer hold the balance of power or be able to bring down a government, as almost happened this year.

Sweden Democrat Member of Parliament Paula Bieler says to Radio Sweden they were not informed of the December deal in advance and only knew when it was made public.

The Left Party was also left out of the press conference, despite being a tacit supporter of the centre-left government. “They are not a government party. They have been informed”, said Stefan Löfven.

Speaking from outside Sweden Left Party leader Jonas Sjöstedt says he welcomes the deal and they have had a discussion with the government. He says his party’s agreement with the government, to limit companies from taking profits out of companies running social services, will continue.

Other compromises that will continue are the immigration, defence and pensions cross-bloc agreements.

The Christian Democrats had proposed cuts in asylum support and only allowing temporary leave to stay. Migration legal expert Louise Dane says to Radio Sweden “I have a hard time seeing those proposals pass.”

The December deal will also stop opposition parties picking a government budget to pieces. The previous government got its budget through but were forced to back down on specific proposals to lower tax rate.

The leader of the biggest Alliance party, the Moderates, says they will continue to be a strong opposition. Anna Kinnberg Batra also underlined that it is her coalition’s budget that has been passed by parliament.

But the Liberal Party leader, Jan Björklund, said it is important that in a democracy there are rivals who compete. Otherwise outsiders get protest votes.

The Left Party and the Sweden Democrat Party are now the only parties outside the December deal.

This cross-bloc agreement will last until 2022.


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