Löfven elected Sweden’s new prime minister

Newly-elected premier Stefan Löfven (left) shakes hands with Speaker of the Parliament Urban Ahlin.

Newly-elected premier Stefan Löfven (left) shakes hands with Speaker of the Parliament Urban Ahlin.

Stefan Löfven, the leader of the Social Democrats, was elected Sweden’s prime minister this afternoon in the Swedish Parliament, with support of his coalition partner, the Green Party.

The four parties of the Alliance: the conservative Moderates, the Christian Democrats, the Liberals and the Center party, who had formed the previous center-right government, abstained from voting.

The Left party also decided to abstain, as its leader Hans Linde explained in parliament that Löfven had decided to shut the Left party out of his government.

Jimmie Åkesson, who heads the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, announced that his party would vote against Löfven.

132 members of parliament voted in favor of Löfven while 49 voted against him and 154 abstained.

Tomorrow at noon, the government will officially change hands and Löfven will officially become Prime Minister. He will also announce his cabinet tomorrow.

Tomas Ramberg, Swedish Radio’s expert on domestic politics, says there are clear differences between Löfven and his predecessor, Fredrik Reinfeldt of the conservative Moderates, in terms of their image and class background.

“You can see that Fredrik Reinfeldt learned to debate policies as a teenager, while Stefan Löfven has devoted himself to trade-union work and only recently became a politician for real. You can tell by their approach, but I don’t think it’s going to have a lot of significance for the political content of their government policies,” he says.

His former colleague Anders Ferbe, who took over as head of IF Metall from Löfven, says the former welder was well-suited for the job as premier. Ferbe says Löfven has a calm demeanor as a determined negotiator.

He’s the same calm person and he has a lot of knowledge about different kinds of things,” he told Radio Sweden.

Swedish Radio International (SRI)

Photo: SRI/TT