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Swedish government faces tough no-confidence vote

STOCKHOLM – Sweden's lawmakers are on Tuesday holding a vote of no-confidence against the country's justice minister, potentially triggering a government crisis only weeks after the country submitted a bid to join NATO.

The potential crisis also comes less than a year after the Swedish government was toppled only to be resurrected weeks later.

The vote, which is scheduled to be held in parliament at 12:00 pm (1000 GMT), was launched by the far-right Sweden Democrats who blame justice minister Morgan Johansson for failing to stem rising gang violence.

"We have reached a point where the single most important crime policy measure is to give Morgan Johansson an early retirement," Sweden Democrat MP Henrik Vinge told parliament last week.

The conservative Moderate Party along with the Liberal Party and the Christian Democrats quickly announced that they will support the motion.

Together the four parties control 174 seats in parliament but they need one more vote for the motion to pass.

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If parliament were to vote against Johansson it would mean he will need to be relieved of his position.

Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson has made it clear that it would also mean her resignation, triggering another government crisis in the country.

Andersson told reporters that the government's decisions are made collectively so a no-confidence vote against Johansson based on policy would be one against the government.

"There is a war going on in our vicinity, we are in a very sensitive position because of our NATO bid together with Finland," a noticeably upset Andersson said on Thursday.

"To then create a situation with a political mess and insecurity is completely irresponsible," she said.

With only one vote missing, the affair could be decided by independent parliamentarian Amineh Kakabaveh, a former Left Party member sitting in parliament as an independent since 2019.

Kakabaveh, who is of Iranian Kurdish origin, had already become a focal point in Swedish politics as the country's NATO bid is currently being blocked by Turkey.

Ankara accuses Stockholm of providing a safe haven for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), listed as a "terrorist" group by Turkey and its Western allies.

Since the vote was announced last week, Kakabaveh has said she is seeking assurances from the ruling Social Democrats that they will not cave in to Turkish demands in their efforts to pave the way to membership, otherwise she intends to vote against Johansson.

On Monday, Kakabaveh told broadcaster SVT she had not yet decided how she was voting.

However, analysts have pointed out that even if Prime Minister Andersson resigns, she will likely remain prime minister leading an interim government as the general elections in September are only four months away.

Artmotion S.Africa

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