Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT
Sweden’s Prime Minister had an attempted motion of no-confidence against him voted down by a wide margin as the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats (SD) failed in their push to oust Stefan Löfven.
SD announced their plan to launch a motion of no-confidence against Social Democrat Prime Minister Löfven earlier this week, but the four centre-right Alliance parties quickly made it clear that they would not back it, and so it proved to be when the Riksdag voted on Friday morning.
136 MPs voted against the motion, 155 abstained, and only 43 voted for it. At least 175 votes in favour were needed for the motion to pass.
Of the 43 votes in favour of the motion, all but one came from SD, with Moderate MP Finn Bengtsson the sole exception. All of the Social Democrat and Green MPs present voted against the motion. Centre Party, Christian Democrat, Liberal and Left MPs all abstained. As did the Moderates, other than Bengtsson.
The result of the vote displayed in the Riksdag. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT
The motion was launched by SD’s Paula Bieler on Wednesday, who claimed that Löfven had lied about how information around security failings at Sweden’s Transport Agency (Transportstyrelsen) was handled by the Government Offices.
The scandal over a data leak that made top secret police databases available to foreign IT workers cost two cabinet members their jobs when Löfven produced a reshuffle and Interior Minister Anders Ygeman and Infrastructure Minister Anna Johansson left their positions ín July.
Ygeman, who is now Social Democrat group leader in the Riksdag, told parliament on Friday that SD had abused the no-confidence mechanism with their attempt to oust the PM.
“In an uncertain time SD want to throw Sweden into a government crisis through a no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister,” he said.
The Moderates pointed out however that just because they had abstained did not mean they believe the Prime Minister to be free from responsibility in the handling of the crisis.
“Abstaining today should not be taken as us in some way freeing the Prime Minister from responsibility in the security crisis as well as the handling of it,” Moderate Riksdag leader Jessica Polfjärd noted.
This is the second time SD have attempted to bring a motion of no-confidence against Löfven during the current Riksdag mandate period. The first was in January 2015 and failed by 133 votes against to 45 in favour. SD also saw an attempted no-confidence motion against Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson fail by 137 votes against to 43 in favour in October that year.
An attempt to bring down Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist over the Transportstyrelsen scandal appeared to collapse on Thursday meanwhile when the Centre Party and Liberals announced they would no longer back a no-confidence motion, despite being two of the four Alliance parties who originally announced the attempt to bring a motion forward earlier in the year.