Swedish opposition leader Ulf Kristersson said he would now turn to a Plan B in his center-right Alliance’s efforts to form a government after failing to secure the support of Social
Democrat leader Stefan Lofven.
“The Alliance now needs to agree on Plan B when it’s clear that Plan A, judging from everything we know, can be excluded,” Kristersson said at a press
conference in Stockholm on Wednesday. He declined to elaborate further on the Plan B, just saying that he will now discuss it with his Alliance partners.
Kristersson made his comments after meeting the parliament speaker, Andreas Norlen, to inform him about his progress in trying to form a government after last month’s election showed a virtual dead heat between the two traditional blocs. Sweden has found itself in a political gridlock after a surge in support for the nationalist Sweden Democrats left neither political bloc with a majority.
“I have investigated the possibility that an Alliance government should be able to be formed as a result of agreements with the Social Democrats,” Kristersson, the Moderate Party leader who spearheads the four-party opposition Alliance, said earlier in an op-ed in Dagens Nyheter newspaper. “Stefan Lofven has clearly rejected that possibility.”
In his talks with the Social Democrats, Kristersson has discussed both whether the party would allow an Alliance government and if it would be willing to agree on long-term reforms not tied to the government formation. The Social Democrats have rejected both ideas and according to Kristersson don’t seem to be willing to make agreements across bloc lines unless they’re in power. Kristersson said his ambition is still to “create a government that is based on the Alliance’s values and concrete political proposals.” At the same time, the Alliance has highlighted the need for agreements across political bloc lines “in long-term and difficult questions,” he said. He will now try to form a government without the support of the Social Democrats.
“One door has closed, and I’m now discussing the Alliance’s other alternatives,” Kristersson said. He has one more week to form a government, before the speaker has to hand over that process to another candidate.
Since Alliance members the Center Party and the Liberals don’t want to form a government with the support of the Sweden Democrats, there is intensifying speculation that Kristersson’s Moderates could instead try to form a cabinet with just the Christian Democrats, the fourth party in the Alliance constellation.