Swedish PM faces defeat in Monday no-confidence vote

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Leroy N. Soetoro

Jun 22, 2021, 8:00:26 PM6/22/21

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) -Stefan Lofven was on Sunday hours away from becoming
the first Swedish Prime Minister to lose a no-confidence vote, after
failing in a last-ditch effort to secure majority support in parliament
for proposed rent reforms.

The vote was called last week for Monday by the anti-immigration Sweden
Democrats, after the Left Party, which Lofven relies on to pass
legislation, withdrew its support over his plan to liberalise Sweden's
rigid rent control system.

Lofven's centrist Social Democrats have led a fragile minority government
since inconclusive elections in 2018, striking a deal on a broad reform
programme with two centre-right parties.

In one of many concessions to the Liberals and the Centre Party, he agreed
to submit a proposal to parliament in the autumn to abolish collective
bargaining for rents for newly built apartments. [L5N2O01LC]

Lofven sought to soften the reform on Sunday by inviting landlords and
tenant organisations for negotiations, but the Left Party dismissed that
initiative as "political theatre."

"Following the notice we have received today, the Left Party will vote
'red' tomorrow against Stefan Lofven," its leader Nooshi Dadgostar told a
news conference.

If, as appears almost certain, Lofven loses Monday's vote, he can either
resign and let the speaker task lawmakers with trying to form a new
government, or call a snap election, something that has not happened in
Sweden since 1958.

In either case, national elections scheduled for September next year would
go ahead as planned.

Lofven, who took four months to form a government after the 2018 election,
called the Left Party's reaction irresponsible.

"We now expect that other political parties are prepared to be responsible
and not plunge Sweden into a political crisis," he told a news conference.

Economists have said they do not expect the political uncertainty to weigh
on Sweden's economy given the strict fiscal rules the country operates

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