September 14, 2017 / 3:28 PM / a year ago

Swedish opposition parties drops vote of no confidence in defense minister

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden’s center-right opposition no longer plans to bring a vote of no confidence in Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist over a botched IT outsourcing deal, after new information came to light, the alliance said.

FILE PHOTO: Sweden's Minister of Defence Peter Hultqvist attends European Union Defence Ministers informal meeting in Tallinn, Estonia September 7, 2017. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

Losing Hultqvist, one of the government’s most popular ministers, would have been a blow to Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, with Sweden due to hold elections in just a year’s time.

Other parties can still go ahead with a vote, but they would not get the majority necessary to oust him.

Lofven has already replaced two ministers in his minority center-left government over the IT deal, and the opposition had also demanded the removal of Hultqvist, who has maintained he has done nothing wrong.

However, the Liberals and the Center Party have now changed their minds, saying new information showed Hultqvist’s involvement was not as serious as previously thought.

“This new information means that we can’t support a vote of no confidence,” Liberal Party Leader Jan Bjorklund told a news conference.

Votes of no confidence are not common in Sweden. Since 1980, only seven have taken place and none of them has been successful.

Reporting by Johan Sennero; Editing by Alison Williams

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