STOCKHOLM -Sweden’s centre-left government moved to diffuse a crisis over easing rent controls on Thursday after the Left Party threatened to withdraw its support, triggering a possible vote of no-confidence and potentially a snap election.
Sweden’s political landscape has been badly fragmented since a tight election in 2018, with Prime Minister Stefan Lofven heading a centre-left minority government that relies on support from both the Left Party and two small centre-right parties.
The Left Party has threatened Lofven with a vote of no-confidence if he does not back down over proposed changes to rent controls for new-build apartments.
On Thursday, Justice Minister Morgan Johansson said the government would invite Sweden’s Tenants’ Association to consult on changes proposed in an official report on easing rent controls on new-build apartments, one of the demands of the Left.
“The report has gone out for consultation,” Justice Minister Morgan Johansson said in a written comment to news agency TT.
“We will also now invite participants in the housing market – the Tenants’ Association, the property-owners association and Public Housing Sweden to discuss the proposal.”
The Left Party on Tuesday gave the government 48 hours to either drop the proposal or negotiate changes with the Tenants Association, or risk a vote of no-confidence.
The Left Party will hold a press conference at 1100 CET.
If it decides the government’s move is not enough, it will still need the support of another party to force a vote of no-confidence.
So far only the far-right, populist Sweden Democrats have indicated they would support them in calling such a vote, but the Left Party has previously said it would not work with them.
Sources in the Left Party, however, told TT that if the Sweden Democrats independently put forward a no-confidence motion in Lofven, they might vote against the prime minister.
If a vote of no-confidence passed, Lofven could resign, handing the job of finding a new government to parliament’s speaker, or call a snap election.
A caretaker government – another alternative should a vote of no-confidence pass – would likely be headed by Lofven as there is no clear alternative.