Dec 3, 2014 10:17 AM

Swedish lawmakers reject government budget

The Associated Press

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) Swedish lawmakers rejected the minority government's budget proposal Wednesday, likely forcing the collapse of the ruling left-leaning coalition.

A far-right party voted with the center-right opposition with the aim of toppling the new coalition that took office in October. That meant 182 lawmakers voted against the government budget and only 153 in favor.

Social Democrat Prime Minister Stefan Lofven is expected to hold a press conference later Wednesday and could announce his resignation.

Lofven could also wait to call a new election on Dec. 29, the earliest that Sweden's Constitution permits.

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.

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

The center-right opposition, made up of four parties, has 141 seats, but the 49 extra votes expected from the Sweden Democrats would be enough to topple the ruling coalition.


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