Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven to resign in November


STOCKHOLM (AP) – Stefan Lofven, Sweden’s Social Democratic Prime Minister since 2014, said on Sunday he would step down as head of government and party in November.

The unexpected announcement – made during his annual summer speech – came ahead of next year’s general election and after Lofven in June became the first Swedish leader to lose a motion in parliament.

Lofven said he had informed the party “that I want to quit my post as party chairman at the party congress in November and then also ask to be removed as prime minister.”

He said being Prime Minister and leader of the Social Democrats “have been fantastic years”.

“But everything comes to an end and I want to give my successor the best possible conditions,” said Lofven, 63.

Resigning is “not easy, but it is true,” Lofven said, adding that there was also “a bit of sadness as well”.

It was not immediately clear who would replace Lofven.

Since 2012 he has been at the head of the Social Democrats, the largest Swedish party which currently holds 100 of the 349 seats in parliament. The party has no obvious replacement for Lofven, but Swedish news agency TT has named Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson as a possible candidate.

A new leader of the Social Democratic Party is to be elected at a party congress to be held from November 3-7, and this person must then be confirmed as prime minister by parliament, in accordance with the Swedish constitution.

Earlier this year, Lofven resigned after losing a vote of confidence and called on the speaker of the country’s parliament to try to form a new government instead of holding a snap election. He was able to form a bipartisan coalition government identical to the previous one.

After the 2018 elections, Sweden had a deadlocked parliament because no one wanted to cooperate with the Swedish Democrats, a right-wing populist party seen as extreme. It took four months of negotiations to produce a government that Lofven introduced in January 2019.

The next general elections in Sweden are scheduled for September 11, 2022.

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