World News

Timeline - Four months of political deadlock in Sweden

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden looks set this week to overcome four months of political deadlock following an inconclusive election after the Left Party said it would abstain in a vote on Friday, giving caretaker Prime Minister Stefan Lofven the votes he needs to be elected.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven gives interview on his way to a meeting with the Speaker of the Parliament Andreas Norlen, in Stockholm, Sweden, January 16, 2019. TT News Agency TT News Agency/Anders Wiklund via REUTERS

Lofven, leader of the Social Democrats, already has the backing of the Centre Party, Liberals and Greens after an historic agreement bringing together the centre-right and centre-left.

Here is a timeline of the main developments in Sweden’s political crisis over the past four months.

Sept 9,2018: Sweden holds a parliamentary election but no party or bloc wins a majority. Mainstream parties want to avoid governing with the support of either the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats or the Left Party.

Sept 24, 2018: Parliament (the Riksdag) elects Andreas Norlen from the centre-right Moderate Party as its new Speaker, helped by votes from the Sweden Democrats, who have roots in the white-supremacist fringe.

Sept 25, 2018: The current government, composed of the Social Democrats and the Greens, loses a no-confidence vote in parliament. He remains as caretaker prime minister.

Oct 2, 2018: The Speaker of the Riksdag gives the Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson two weeks to form a government.

Oct 14, 2018: Kristersson informs the Speaker that he has been unable to get enough support to form a centre-right coalition government.

Oct 15, 2018: The Speaker asks Lofven to try to form a government.

Oct 29, 2018: Lofven announces he has abandoned his efforts to form a government.

Nov 5, 2018: The Speaker calls a parliamentary vote to elect Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson as prime minister.

Nov 14, 2018: Parliament rejects Kristersson as prime minister as the Liberal and Centre parties refuse to back a government that has to rely on the Sweden Democrats.

Nov 15, 2018: Centre Party leader Annie Loof becomes the third party leader asked to try to form a government.

Nov 22, 2018: Loof tells the Speaker she has failed in her attempt to form a government that did not require the support of the Sweden Democrats and the Left Party.

Nov 23, 2018: The Speaker announces a new vote to reinstall Lofven as prime minister for early December.

Dec 14, 2018: Parliament votes down Lofven’s centre-left coalition. It now has just two more attempts left to approve a new government or Sweden will face snap elections.

Jan 11, 2019: Lofven’s Social Democrats agree a draft policy deal with the Centre, Liberal and Green parties under which Lofven pledges, among other things, to cut taxes for wage-earners and companies.

Jan 16, 2019: The Left Party says it is ready to abstain in a vote to install Lofven as prime minister, ensuring he can muster the necessary numbers.

Jan 18, 2019: Parliament to vote on Friday for a new prime minister. If it fails to elect Lofven, it will have just one more attempt left to back a new government or there will have to be a snap election.

Reporting by Tommy Lund and Jagoda Darlak; Editing by Gareth Jones