Lofven eyeing return as Swedish premier

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Swedish caretaker Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said he would be willing to return to head a government that did not yet have backing for a budget, potentially making it easier for the parliament speaker to ask him to form a new administration.

Lofven resigned after losing a no-confidence vote last week, handing the speaker the job of finding a new prime minister candidate who can pass a vote in parliament.

Despite his ouster, the Social Democrat leader probably has the votes to return as prime minister, but still not enough to pass a budget. His main rival, Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson cannot do either.

“It should also be known that I will resign if the government I lead does not get its budget through,” Lofven told a news conference after holding talks with the speaker, Andreas Norlen.

If Lofven, a former union boss known for his skill as a negotiator and dealmaker, sees his strategy pay dividend and he gets parliament’s backing, he would have until late this year to find the votes needed to pass a budget bill.

With parties stubbornly sticking to their positions over which candidate they support, that may be the best the speaker can hope for. If four candidates for prime minister are rejected by parliament, Sweden will automatically face a snap election.

The speaker of the parliament was due to hold talks with all party leaders individually on Tuesday. Sometime in the coming days he will task one of them to try to form a new government that can be accepted by parliament.

It took Lofven four months to form a government after 2018’s inconclusive election, but the speaker has said he wants a faster process now.

Photo: Swedish caretaker Prime Minister Stefan Lofven . EPA-EFE/ALI LORESTANI/TT