Swedish politics 2019: Who's who?
The Social Democrats under Prime Minister Stefan Lofven suffered their worst defeat in a century in September elections, losing 13 seats in parliament. Even so, Lovfen is expected to serve another term as the head of a minority government in a policy deal with the Greens, the Center Party, and the Liberals following months of failed attempts to form a coalition that could take the reins.
Ulf Kristersson's Moderates had a stab at building a coalition, but failed. In the end Sweden's second-largest party will be sitting on the sidelines. Kristersson has said he will take advantage of the first opportunity to topple the new government. The right-wing party is mainly focused on law and order and job creation.
The far-right Sweden Democrats had their hopes set on a new government that would rely on them as kingmaker. But the mainstream parties were loathe to cooperate with SD. The party's popularity has spiked in recent years due to rising anti-migrant sentiment (Sweden took in over 160,000 asylum-seekers in 2015) and Akesson's efforts to cleanse the party of its neo-Nazi roots.
The Greens agreed again to be the junior partner in a Social Democrat-led coalition. The party has been set on preventing the Sweden Democrats from holding sway over a new government. With their strong focus on environment, Lovin pushed for flight and carbon taxes as minister for international development and climate. Fridolin, education minister, plans to resign the co-leadership in May.
Sweden's Center Party emerged from the Democratic Farmers League, and while agriculture and environment remain key to its policies, Annie Loof emerged as the party's hope to attract urban and more progressive voters. Loof got a shot at forming a coalition, but gave up after a week. The party has said it backs the Social Democrats' plan to lead a new government but will not join it.
Left Party chief Jonas Sjostedt, a former metal worker and union leader, served in the European Parliament from 1995-2006. He returned to Swedish politics and was elected to parliament in 2010 and became party leader two years later. The Left agreed not to block a new government under the Social Democrats' Lofven out of fear that the far-right Sweden Democrats might gain power in a snap election.
A former army major, Liberals leader Jan Bjorklund has adopted a fighting approach to politics. The results have been mixed; the party's policy ideas on education and equality have been well received, while calls to expand the military and join NATO have mostly fallen on deaf ears. Despite internal divisions, the party has backed Lofven as premier though they will not be part of his government.
Sweden's Christian Democrats have struggled to attract wide support, despite attempts to distance themselves from religious roots. Meanwhile, the party's increasingly harsh tone toward migration may have alienated more voters with Christian values than it has drawn in new ones. Ebba Busch Thor has criticized the Center Party and Liberals for backing Lovfen, suggesting they humiliated themselves.