Snap elections in Sweden as budget plan rejected

Snap elections: Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven. Picture: AP
Snap elections: Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven. Picture: AP
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SWEDEN’s prime minister is to call snap elections after Parliament rejected his left-leaning government’s budget proposal.

Stefan Lofven said he will call for new elections to be held on March 22 next year.

A far-right party sided with the centre-right opposition to vote against the budget with the aim of toppling the coalition that took office in October.

Mr Lofven needs to wait until December 29 to officially call for the new elections according to rules set out in Sweden’s Constitution.

The anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats’ move to rebel against the budget proposal was considered a major political breakthrough for the group that became the country’s third-largest party in the 349-seat Parliament in September’s general elections.

Mr Lofven became prime minister in October as head of a coalition with the Greens, promising to reverse many reforms by the previous centre-right government.

He accused the anti-immigrant party of wanting “to knock out any government that doesn’t dance to their tune”.

From the start, Mr Lofven’s minority government - which has 138 seats in parliament - was expected to struggle to push its agenda through. With the support of the former Communist Left Party, which stands outside the Cabinet, it controls 159 seats.