On Thursday (2 October), the Riksdagen, Sweden’s parliament, formally confirmed Stefan Löfven as the country’s next prime minister.
With 132 votes for Löfven, 49 against, and with 154 MPs abstaining, Swedish lawmakers have officially elected the Social Democrats’ leader Löfven as the new head of state. The votes against Löfven came from the far-right party members of the Sweden Democrats, while centre-right parties abstained.
“It feels great. It’s now formal, and I’m going to do what I can to get the unemployment rate down and to improve the educational system,” Löfven told the Swedish broadcaster SVT.
In the election campaign, Löfven promised to tackle the unemployment rate, which is around 8% in Sweden, slightly lower than the EU average. However, the unemployment rate among youth, in some regions of the Scandinavian country, is above 25%. Immigration policy, and improving Sweden’s educational system, were also hot topics.
Asked whether he’s ready to present the full list of new ministers, Löfven said, “If I say ‘yes’, then you’re going to ask me more questions which I can’t answer.”
Thomas Ramberg, Radio Sweden’s political commentator, said Löfven is likely to become an ‘industry-friendly’ prime minister as he has already talked a lot about polices for businesses as well as wanting to set up a cooperation project with industry leaders.
“He will continue to profile himself as someone who is willing to cooperate with everybody which is also necessary with the election result he got,” Ramberg said.
In Sweden’s general elections, on 14 September, the Social Democrats won more than 30% of the votes, and together with the Left Party and the Environment Party, received support from 45% of voters. Meanwhile the centre-right coalition, The Alliance, won around 38%, and then Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, from the center-right Moderate Party, decided to step down.
57-year-old Löfven has said his government won’t be relying on votes from the Sweden Democrats, which received 13% of ballots cast. Therefore, political experts say he’s likely to suffer many defeats in Parliament, having to negotiate many policies with centre-right parties.
On Friday (3 October), the building of the new Swedish government continues, with Löfven presenting a statement of the government’s policies as well as presenting new ministers.