Last-ditch efforts to defuse Swedish political crisis go on, minister says

FILE PHOTO: Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven leaves a meeting at the EU summit, in Brussels, Belgium, July 21, 2020. REUTERS/Johanna Geron/Pool/File Photo

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Efforts to defuse a crisis that has left Sweden's centre-left minority government facing likely defeat in a no-confidence vote next week will carry on throughout the weekend, Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson said on Friday.

Parliament is due to hold a no-confidence vote on Monday after the Left Party withdrew its support on Thursday for the government over plans to ease rent control on new-build housing.

The anti-immigration Sweden Democrats promptly filed a no-confidence motion, which looks likely to win enough support to bring down the government, leaving Prime Minister Stefan Lofven weighing resignation or a snap election.

But the government is still trying to stave off the crisis, Andersson said.

"Of course we are looking at all options in this serious situation, so we will naturally be working before Monday," she told the public broadcaster SVT.

"If there is a no-confidence vote on Monday, we will work after that too. The focus for this government is what's best for the country."

Lofven won a second term in 2018. But big gains for the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats forced him to spend months hammering out an agreement with two centre-right parties to stay in power.

The agreement included pledges to drive through a number of market-oriented reforms that have, over time, increasingly alienated the formerly communist Left Party, whose toleration the government also relied on in parliament.

(Reporting by Niklas Pollard, editing by Anna Ringstrom and Kevin Liffey)

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