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Sweden’s incoming leader hold talks to form government with far-right

In this file photo from September 9, 2022, Ulf Kristersson, leader of the Moderate Party in Sweden, is pictured in a studio prior to a debate with other party leaders, organized  by SVT in Stockholm, ahead of the general elections. (Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP)
In this file photo from September 9, 2022, Ulf Kristersson, leader of the Moderate Party in Sweden, is pictured in a studio prior to a debate with other party leaders, organized by SVT in Stockholm, ahead of the general elections. (Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP)

STOCKHOLM — Sweden’s incoming leader gets to work today on the thorny task of building a government supported for the first time by the far right, a day after securing a slim election victory.

Conservative Moderates chief Ulf Kristersson was expected to be formally tasked sometime next week with forming a government after Social Democratic Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson tendered her resignation.

While the far-right Sweden Democrats became the biggest party on the right with 20 percent of the votes, observers said it was unlikely the anti-immigration and nationalist party would be given cabinet seats due to divisions in the right-wing bloc.

The small Liberal party has said it would withdraw its support for Kristersson — which would leave him without a majority — if he includes the far-right in the government.

With 176 seats — 73 of them going to the Sweden Democrats — the four-party coalition will have a slim majority over Andersson’s left bloc, which won 173, according to final results presented today.

The narrow majority leaves the right-wing bloc fragile, with the four parties fiercely opposed on a number of issues, especially the Liberals and Sweden Democrats.

If a few disgruntled MPs jump ship, it could end up flipping the balance of power in parliament.

The bloc is at odds over international aid, unemployment benefits, asylum laws and legal reforms to staunch a wave of gang shootings and bombings that have rocked Sweden in recent years.

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