PM Stefan Lofven for a second term

Sweden, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has been elected for a second term, ending a four-month political vacuum. Lofven’s minority centre-left government, comprising his Social Democrats and the Greens, won the backing of the Centre and Liberal parties.

The latter two until now were members of the four-party centre-right opposition Alliance.

The Prime Minister is expected to formally present his new government and its full programme on Monday.

It will be one of the weakest administrations in Sweden in 70 years, with just 32.7 per cent of voters having cast ballots for the two parties.

Sweden’s inconclusive legislative elections in September last year had not left either main parliamentary bloc with a majority.

Together, the four parties hold 167 of 349 seats in parliament, eight fewer than the 175 that constitutes a majority in the Riksdag.

The ex-communist Left Party had backed Lofven’s previous minority government since 2014, providing key support to pass legislation in parliament.

But this time, the Left, which now holds 28 seats, was excluded as Lofven shifted his government toward the centre.

To block the far-right Sweden Democrats from wielding any influence in parliament, the Left announced it would still allow Lofven to be elected.

“If we were to vote no on Friday, we would likely end up with a blue-brown government,” Left Party leader Jonas Sjostedt said, referring to a conservative government backed by the Sweden Democrats.

Under Sweden’s political system, a government can operate as long as a majority of lawmakers do not vote it down.

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