Sweden looks set this week to overcome four months of political deadlock following an inconclusive election after the Left Party said it would abstain in a vote on Friday, giving caretaker Prime Minister Stefan Lofven the votes he needs to be elected. Lofven, leader of the Social Democrats, already has the backing of the Centre Party, Liberals and Greens after an historic agreement bringing together the centre-right and centre-left. Here is a timeline of the main developments in Sweden's political crisis over the past four months.
Sept 9 2018: Sweden holds a parliamentary election but no party or bloc wins a majority. Mainstream parties want to avoid governing with the support of either the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats or the Left Party. Sept 24, 2018: Parliament (the Riksdag) elects Andreas Norlen from the centre-right Moderate Party as its new Speaker, helped by votes from the Sweden Democrats, who have roots in the white-supremacist fringe. Sept 25, 2018: The current government, composed of the Social Democrats and the Greens, loses a no-confidence vote in parliament. He remains as caretaker prime minister. Oct 2, 2018: The Speaker of the Riksdag gives the Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson two weeks to form a government.
Oct 14, 2018: Kristersson informs the Speaker that he has been unable to get enough support to form a centre-right coalition government. Oct 15, 2018: The Speaker asks Lofven to try to form a government. Oct 29, 2018: Lofven announces he has abandoned his efforts to form a government.
Nov 5, 2018: The Speaker calls a parliamentary vote to elect Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson as prime minister. Nov 14, 2018: Parliament rejects Kristersson as prime minister as the Liberal and Centre parties refuse to back a government that has to rely on the Sweden Democrats.
Nov 15, 2018: Centre Party leader Annie Loof becomes the third party leader asked to try to form a government. Nov 22, 2018: Loof tells the Speaker she has failed in her attempt to form a government that did not require the support of the Sweden Democrats and the Left Party.
Nov 23, 2018: The Speaker announces a new vote to reinstall Lofven as prime minister for early December. Dec 14, 2018: Parliament votes down Lofven's centre-left coalition. It now has just two more attempts left to approve a new government or Sweden will face snap elections.
Jan 11, 2019: Lofven's Social Democrats agree a draft policy deal with the Centre, Liberal and Green parties under which Lofven pledges, among other things, to cut taxes for wage-earners and companies. Jan 16, 2019: The Left Party says it is ready to abstain in a vote to install Lofven as prime minister, ensuring he can muster the necessary numbers. Jan 18, 2019: Parliament to vote on Friday for a new prime minister. If it fails to elect Lofven, it will have just one more attempt left to back a new government or there will have to be a snap election.
(With inputs from agencies.)