Sweden: Center-right leader will try to form new government

STOCKHOLM (AP) — The head of Sweden’s center-right opposition Moderates party, Ulf Kristersson, was tasked Tuesday with trying to form a new coalition government a day after Prime Minister Stefan Lofven resigned following a no-confidence vote last week.

Parliament speaker Andreas Norlen earlier held a first round of consultations with all party leaders, starting with Lofven who heads the Social Democratic Party — Sweden’s largest political group.

Norlen said he asked Kristersson to try to form a government because he is the leader of the largest in the group of parties that unseated Lofven.

Kristersson has until Friday to try to find support for a government, Norlen said, adding that the deadline could be extended. If he fails, Norlen will ask another politician to head the process.

Lofven, in office since 2014, lost a no-confidence vote in parliament on June 21. Instead of calling an early election, as the Constitution allows him, he opted for the coalition-building process that is overseen by Norlen.

The motion was called by the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats party. But it ultimately succeeded because a government ally had withdrawn its support for Lofven’s administration over proposed legislation to tackle a housing shortage.

Lofven, a63-year-old former welder, will remain caretaker prime minister until a new government has been found.

His party holds 100 of parliament’s 349 seats. Lofven had headed a minority government composed of a Social Democratic-Green coalition.

None of the parties in parliament want to cooperate with the Sweden Democrats.

Sweden’s next general elections are normally set for Sept. 11. 2022.

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