Sweden

Divided Sweden forms government 18 weeks after election

Stefan Lofven
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. Photo: Florian Gaertner/Photothek via Getty Images

A new coalition of four parties in Sweden's parliament voted Friday to elect center-left Prime Minister Stefan Löfven to a second term, 18 weeks after an election in which Löfven's Social Democrats finished with their lowest vote share since World War I, Politico Europe reports.

The big picture: The Sept. 9 election left the Swedish government in a state of flux, with no party commanding an absolute majority and the far-right, anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats earning a record 17.7% of parliamentary seats. The establishment center-left and center-right coalitions ruled out working with SD — who have roots in neo-Nazism — forcing a rejiggering of political alliances that at points seemed impossible.

Expert Voices

Stockholm deal brings partial peace to Yemen, but fraught with risks

Rebel negotiator Mohammed Abdelsalam holds a press conference together with members of the delegation following the peace consultations taking place near Stockholm
Rebel negotiator Mohammed Abdelsalam during a press conference after UN-backed discussions, near Stockholm, Sweden, on December 13, 2018. Photo: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP via Getty Images

The UN-backed discussions in Stockholm between Yemen’s internationally recognized government and Houthi rebels ended on Dec. 13 in a series of agreements that, if successfully implemented, will help alleviate Yemen’s humanitarian crisis and may ultimately pave the way for a negotiated peace.

Why it matters: The two sides have been fighting since September 2014 in a conflict that has entangled regional powers, along with the U.S., and created a humanitarian catastrophe. The results of the Stockholm meeting could herald the war’s first real breakthrough, but both sides will need to quickly make good on their commitments, or the positive momentum could stall.

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