STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - A vote of no-confidence in Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven failed as widely expected on Tuesday, bolstering his minority government and boosting the chance he will be able to push through a budget in spring.
The Sweden Democrats tabled the vote after Lofven reached a deal in December with the centre-right Alliance to exclude the anti-immigration party from influence in parliament.
Speaking before the vote, Sweden Democrat MP Richard Jomshof accused Lofven of breaking his word to step down after the government’s first budget was rejected by parliament in December and again when he reversed plans to hold a snap election as a result of the defeat.
The vote of no confidence is a “historic chance to change course and begin something better,” Jomshof said. “Sweden deserves and needs better leadership.”
Only the Sweden Democrats supported the motion.
The other parties voted along party lines with the centre-right opposition and the Left Party abstaining and the Social Democrats and their coalition partner, the Green Party, voting against.
As a result of the December agreement, the no-confidence motion was widely expected to fail.
However, analysts said the vote could provide an opportunity for critics of the historic, cross-party deal - particularly from the opposition Moderate Party - to express their anger.
The Social Democrat-led government was widely seen as one of the weakest in decades after Lofven took power in the autumn and parliament voted down his first budget in December.
Lofven was saved by the deal with the Alliance which agreed to abstain in budget votes during the government’s four-year term.
Lofven will present a supplementary budget in April and must tread a fine line.
If he moves too far to the left in the budget, that could lead the opposition tearing up the December agreement. But unless he can push through his election promises of spending on welfare, schools and jobs, he is likely to lose support from his own voters.
Votes of non-confidence are very unusual in Swedish politics. Today’s was only the sixth ever and none have succeeded.
Reporting by Johan Sennero and Simon Johnson; Editing by Alistair Scrutton