October 12, 2018 / 12:56 PM / in 7 months

Swedish party suggests smaller minority government to get past impasse

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden’s largest center-right party said on Friday it was prepared to form a government without other parties in its bloc, in an attempt to clear a political impasse left by last month’s inconclusive election.

FILE PHOTO: Swedish Moderate party leader Ulf Kristersson gives a news conference after a meeting with the Speaker of Parliament in Stockholm, Sweden, September 27, 2018. TT News Agency/Pontus Lundahl via REUTERS /File Photo

Swedish Moderates leader Ulf Kristersson said the other parties could support his cabinet from outside government - in an apparent bid to get around their refusal to work directly with nationalists who currently hold the balance of power.

Other members of the center-right Alliance bloc did not comment on the plan - which was quickly rejected by other groups.

If the scheme fails, the center-left will likely get a chance to form a government next week. Failing that, the country could face fresh elections.

(Swedish election scenarios: tmsnrt.rs/2p45tJh)

The plan followed weeks of fraught negotiations after neither Kristersson’s center-right Alliance bloc nor a grouping of center-left parties won enough votes on Sept. 9 to form a majority.

The vote left the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, which has been shunned by all other parties, holding the balance of power in a deeply divided Riksdag.

Kristersson published a long Facebook post proposing that his party form a government which other members of the center-right Alliance block could support in votes but not have to formally join.

“Neither the Sweden Democrats nor the Left Party would be given influence over the government’s political direction,” he wrote.

Nevertheless, the Sweden Democrats or left-wing parties would at least have to agree not vote against any such minority government for it to survive.

None of the other members of Alliance members - the Centre Party, the Liberals and the Christian Democrats - commented on the proposal.

Several members of the center-left Social Democrats, which is currently in a caretaker government, dismissed the plan, saying it would depend on support from the far right.

“Kristersson is showing his true colors,” Justice and Interior Minister Morgan Johansson said in a tweet.

The Sweden Democrats, which wants substantial curbs on immigration, also appeared to dismiss the scheme.

“It feels completely unreasonable that we would allow a government that clearly declares that we won’t get any influence what-so-ever,” party leader Jimmie Akesson. “That will of course not happen.”

Additional reporting by Johan Sennero; writing by Niklas Pollard; Editing by Toby Chopra and Andrew Heavens

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