Sweden’s government on Saturday announced a deal with the opposition that will avert the country’s first snap elections in more than half a century and counter the rising influence of the anti-immigrant far right. The deal announced by Prime Minister Stefan Loefven, in office for less than three months, will see the minority center-left government remain in power. The far right has however threatened a no-confidence vote. Loefven had called early elections this month after the populist and anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats torpedoed his fledgling government’s budget. The crisis had dealt a severe blow to Sweden’s self-image as a tolerant nation and illustrated the rising political fortunes of anti-immigrant parties in much of Europe.
“Thanks to the agreement we have found enabling a minority government to govern, the government will not organize early elections,” Loefven, a Social Democrat, said.
The Sweden Democrats, which had said they wanted to turn the now-canceled election into a referendum on immigration, reacted with anger and disappointment to the news of the surprise deal.
“We don’t have any confidence in Loefven as prime minister,” said Mattias Karlsson, interim leader of the Sweden Democrats, in an interview with public television SVT. He said the party will subject Loefven’s government to a vote of no confidence, but did not say when.