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Swedish PM Stefan Lofven resigns after losing no-confidence vote

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Sweden’s prime minister has announced his resignation after losing a vote of no confidence last Monday, meaning that the parliament must find a new politician to lead the country.

Stefan Lofven handed in his resignation on Monday and defended his decision by stating, “I have to think about what is best for Sweden and this is the best option right now.”

While a snap election was thought to be a possibility following the prime minister’s resignation, a general election would still need to be held in just over a year, in September 2022.

As Lofven had only a week to restore his party’s faith in him following the vote of no confidence – and failed to do so – Sweden’s parliamentary speaker, Andreas Norlen, must begin the process of forming a new government.

Lofven has become the first prime minister in Swedish history to lose a vote of no confidence, which was linked to the pressing topic of housing policy.

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The opposition Left Party, on whom Lofven’s minority coalition relied for support, had called for rent controls across the country to lessen the wealth divide in Sweden. The party eventually called for a no-confidence vote last week amid a row over proposals to end a rent cap on new-build flats.

In 2020, the average waiting time to rent in Sweden was just shy of a decade due to a shortage of rental accommodation being built in the country. Thus, those looking to rent would often have to resort to signing poor contracts that granted little rights to tenants, as well as being much more expensive.

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FILE PHOTO: Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven attends a news conference after the no-confidence vote in the Swedish parliament, in Stockholm, Sweden June 21, 2021. © TT News Agency/Andres Wiklund via REUTERS
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Lofven became prime minister in 2014. However, a tight result in the 2018 elections meant that neither one of the main parliamentary blocs, the center-right and center-left parties, managed to win a majority. Lofven’s party won 40.6% of the vote, and the center-right party attained 40.2%. It took four months to form a government.

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