Swedish Government Crisis Leaves NATO Membership Bid Hanging In The Balance

A new crisis faced by Sweden’s minority government has cast uncertainty over the future of Sweden’s application for membership of NATO, following a threat by Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson that she and her government would resign should a no-confidence motion against the Swedish justice minister pass.

The opposition Sweden Democrats party called the no-confidence motion against Justice Minister Morgan Johansson on June 2, with the motion to be voted on this Tuesday. According to the Sweden Democrats, the motion was called due to what they allege is Johansson’s failure to adequately address shootings and gang crime in Sweden.

Later on Thursday, Andersson held a press conference accusing the Sweden Democrats and other opposition parties that backed the motion of being “horrifically irresponsible”. According to Andersson, the Swedish system of collective decision-making meant that the whole government would have to resign if the no-confidence motion passed, herself included.

As of writing, the Swedish opposition have 174 out of 175 votes required to pass the no-confidence motion against Johansson. As a result, attention has turned to Amineh Kakabaveh, an independent member of parliament formerly with the Left Party, as she now stands to be the deciding vote on whether the motion passes and seemingly if the government falls.

The former Peshmerga fighter turned lawmaker has been critical of Sweden’s NATO membership bid, particularly the demands Turkey has made of Sweden and the government’s “attitude” towards them. Kakabaveh has previously been in talks with the Social Democrats to refuse Turkish demands to lift restrictions on arms exports to Turkey, as well as rejecting Ankara’s demands that the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (better known as the PYD) and its People’s Protection Units and Women’s Defense Units armed wings be formally designated as terrorist organizations by Stockholm. Kakabaveh is also on a list of individuals Ankara is demanding extradition of from Sweden and Finland for what it alleges is support of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

In an interview with Dagens Nyheter published on Sunday, Kakabaveh said Social Democrats had not fulfilled what was “promised” to her six months ago, and that she had made clear to the government that she would vote against them unless she received a response she was satisfied with. However, she added that she was not personally against Johansson and Andersson, with further negotiations between Kakabaveh and the Social Democrats expected to continue through Monday.