Andersson gets extension to try to form new govt in Sweden

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Swedish Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson said Tuesday she needs more time for government formation talks that could make her the country’s first female prime minister because discussions with one of the two support parties has reached an impasse.

After intensive talks with the small Left Party, Andersson asked parliament speaker Andreas Norlen for an extension and was given until Monday to find enough support in the Riksdag to form a Cabinet.

Andersson, the new leader of the Social Democratic Party, is aiming at securing the backing of the two smaller parties that supported the previous center-left, minority government of Stefan Lofven. The other ally, the Center Party, has already said that its lawmakers will abstain from voting against Andersson.

Under the Swedish Constitution, prime ministers can govern as long as a parliamentary majority — a minimum 175 lawmakers — is not against them. The Social Democrats currently hold 100 of the Riksdag’s 349 seats, and the Greens have 16 seats. Together with their allies they have a total of 174 seats.

The right-wing of the Riksdag is divided. Ulf Kristersson, head of the opposition Moderate — Sweden’s second-largest party — repeatedly has said that a center-right government is not feasible because no mainstream party wants to cooperate with the third largest Swedish party, the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats, which is rooted in a neo-Nazi movement.

On Tuesday, Andersson declined to give details about the ongoing talks with the Left Party, saying “all that is discussed in the negotiating room stays there.”

“It’s about being able to build trust,” she said.

“Sweden urgently needs a new government, but at the same time the work should not be rushed” Norlen said after meeting with Andersson.

Lofven is continuing to lead the Swedish government in a caretaking capacity until a new government is formed.

Sweden has a general election set for Sept. 11, 2022.

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