COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A center-left minority government led by the current caretaker prime minister, Stefan Lofven, was approved Friday by Swedish lawmakers, ending a four-month political deadlock.
The vote in Riksdagen, or parliament, was 153-115 in favor of Lofven, with 77 abstentions.
His own Social Democrats and the Greens backed him and the center-right bloc voted against, while three smaller parties abstained in Friday’s ballot.
In Sweden, a prime minister can govern as long as there is no majority against him or her.
Swedish politicians have been trying to form a government without the Sweden Democrats, which has neo-Nazi roots. Parties have refused to cooperate with Sweden’s third-largest party, which made great strides in the Sept. 9 national election.
Jan Bjorklund of the Liberals, whose party supported Lofven by abstaining, noted “how racist and populist parties have strengthened their positions across the world.” He cited U.S. President Donald Trump, France’s National Rally led by Marine le Pen and Hungary’s nationalist prime minister Viktor Orban as examples.
“We have chosen another path,” he told Riksdagen.
Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Akesson, who had hoped for more political influence, repeatedly used the word “absurd” to describe the coalition talks.
“My ambition now is that the Sweden Democrats will be a dominating forced in a new strong center-right opposition,” he said.
“It will be a tough four-year period,” Lofven told a later news conference, adding “Sweden is getting a powerful government that is not dependent on the Sweden Democrats.”
The September election produced a hung parliament with the left-leaning side and the center-right bloc securing about 40 percent of the vote each, leaving neither with a majority and paving the way for months of complex coalition talks.
To get the support from two center-right parties, Lofven had to compromise over labor laws, causing irritation from his party’s union backers and the Left Party.