The speaker, the newly-elected Andreas Norlén of the Moderate Party, met with his three deputies on Friday following a first round of talks with the party leaders, which were carried out in order of their size in parliament. The party leaders will be brought back in for a second round of discussions on Tuesday.
Norlén has the official task of putting forward a proposal for who should become prime minister. This is only done after talks with the different leaders in order to assess who might have the best chance of forming a workable government.
On Friday, the leader of the Liberal Party, Jan Björklund, called on Norlén to give one of the eight party leaders the go-ahead to start negotiations on forming a new government.
“It is the speaker who controls [the process], but the reasonable thing to do would be for the speaker to appoint one of the eight party leaders to get started and start negotiating with the other parties,” he said.
Sweden’s September 9th election left the centre-left bloc with just one seat more than the centre-right Alliance, with the far-right Sweden Democrats (SD) the third biggest group. The latter two voted Social Democrat PM Stefan Löfven out of his role on Tuesday, though he will continue to lead a caretaker administration until a new government is formed.
Björklund, like the other party leaders within the Alliance, wants to see Ulf Kristersson of the Moderates named prime minister.
Anders Ygeman, a spokesman for the Social Democrats, seemed to be on the same page as Björklund in pushing Norlén to appoint one party leader to lead the negotiations.
“Sooner or later, a party leader will be given the task but perhaps the speaker wants a better overview of the situation first,” Ygeman said, adding that he thought his party colleague and ousted PM Löfven was the right person to lead the negotiations.
Both the centre-left and the centre-right Alliance have said they are prepared to strike a bipartisan compromise, allowing one side to form a minority government with the informal support of the other in parliament.
The questions to be resolved are which of the two sides would be the party in government in that case, and what role would be played by the far-right SD — the country’s third biggest group after the election. Both blocs have said they will not negotiate with the SD, although the Alliance’s Christian Democrats have said they would be prepared to do so if necessary.
Norleén has four attempts to get parliament to agree to a new prime minister, or at least convince enough MPs to abstain and not actively vote against the candidate.
If they fail to agree on any of the four proposals, a new election must be held within three months. However, this has never happened in Swedish history.