STOCKHOLM (AP) – Stefan Lofven, Sweden’s social democratic prime minister since 2014, said on Sunday that he would step down as head of government and party in November.
The unexpected announcement – made during his annual summer speech – came before next year’s general election and after Lofven became the first Swedish head of state to ever lose a motion in parliament in June.
Lofven said that he had informed the party “that at the party congress in November I would give up my position as party chairman and then also apply for removal from office as prime minister”.
He said it had been a fantastic time being prime minister and head of the social democrats.
“But everything has an end and I want to offer my successor the very best conditions,” said 63-year-old Lofven.
The resignation was “not easy, but right,” said Lofven, adding that there was also “a bit of sadness”.
It wasn’t immediately clear who would replace Lofven.
Since 2012 he has been chairman of the Social Democrats – Sweden’s largest party, which currently holds 100 of the 349 seats in parliament. The party has no obvious replacement for Lofven, but Swedish news agency TT pointed to Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson as a possible candidate.
At a party congress from November 3rd to 7th, a new chairman of the Social Democratic Party is to be elected, who, according to the Swedish constitution, will then have to be confirmed as prime minister by parliament.
Earlier this year, Lofven resigned after losing a vote of confidence, calling on the country’s parliamentary speaker to try to form a new government instead of holding early elections. He managed to form a two-party coalition government similar to the previous one.
After the 2018 election, Sweden had a stalled parliament because no one wanted to work with the Sweden Democrats, a right-wing populist party that is considered extreme. It took four months to form a government that Lofven presented in January 2019.
The next parliamentary elections in Sweden are planned for September 11, 2022.
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