Pressure on Sweden’s minority govt eases as opposition splits over budget

pressure on Sweden’s minority government eases

(c), Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Sweden’s Democrats Party leader Jimmie Akesson attends a news conference after meeting with Speaker of the Parliament Andreas Norlen in Stockholm, Sweden January 16, 2019. TT News Agency/Jessica Gow via REUTERS

STOCKHOLM – Friday’s announcement by the head of the opposition Sweden Democrats that his party would not support a different finance bill increased the chances of Sweden’s centre-left minority coalition passing its autumn budget.

The maths remains complex, but without the Sweden Democrats, the centre-right opposition would likely only get 112 votes in the 349-seat parliament for a common budget against the 116 commanded by the Social Democrat-Green government.

“As it stands now, there’s no reason for us not to support a budget that we haven’t been involved in the discussions during which its formulation was taken,” Jimmie Akesson, leader of Sweden Democrat told daily Expressen in an interview.

The budget rules in Sweden mean that the finance bill receiving the most support from parliament is adopted.

Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson – the favourite to take over as prime minister when Stefan Lofven steps down in November – has promised a 74 billion crown ($8.6 billion) boost to the economy in the budget for 2022.

But the likelihood of the bill being passed has been uncertain.

Without support from the Left or Centre parties, a united opposition might have forced a different finance bill through parliament. This could have led to a snap election.

Neither the Left nor Centre party have said they would back the finance bill – which will be published on Sept. 20 – and both have very different political priorities.

Complicating matters further, the Centre Party – which sat in the right-of-centre government from 2006 to 2014 – has said it would not support a budget if the government negotiates its content with the Left Party. The Left Party stated that it wants a say in spending.

Sweden is due to hold a general election in September 2022, and all parties are keen to avoid two votes in one year.

($1 = 6310 Swedish crowns

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