Sweden’s government looks likely to survive its latest crisis after a Kurdish-born MP, whose support is crucial, said she had received assurances that Stockholm would not compromise with Turkey over its Nato bid.
Justice minister Morgan Johansson will face a no-confidence vote at 12pm local time on Tuesday. The vote is set to go in his favour after Amineh Kakabaveh, the far-left MP who is kingmaker in Sweden’s parliament, said she would abstain.
A vote in Johansson’s favour would in turn save the centre-left government, as Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson had threatened to resign if the justice minister was forced out.
Kakabaveh said on Tuesday morning that the governing Social Democrats had “promised me that they will stand firm, and that there will absolutely not be any changes because of the Nato issue” with Turkey. Turkey is blocking Sweden’s application over Stockholm’s support for several Kurdish groups.
Kakabaveh has been adamant that Sweden does not bow to Turkish demands. “The whole thing is bad for Sweden’s reputation. They allowed a tyrannist, a despot, an Islamist regime to decide which kind of politicians are in the government. I have been in Sweden for 29 years, and I have never been so afraid,” she has previously said.
Tobias Baudin, the Social Democrats’ party secretary, confirmed that a previous deal with Kakabaveh would still be honoured. The agreement dealt exclusively with Kurdish rights and included sharp criticism of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Sweden’s Nato bid, Stockholm’s attempts to overcome opposition from Turkey and chronic political instability have collided in the latest political drama ahead of parliamentary elections in September.
Leaders of the centre-right, who had backed the no-confidence vote, expressed their disappointment that Johansson would survive. The justice minister was under pressure following a sharp increase in recent years in gangland shootings, as well as grenade and bomb attacks.
The centre-right had offered to support the Nato bid until the elections if Johansson was removed from his position.
“Sweden’s security policy is too important to be dependent on agreements with far-left, independent MPs,” Ebba Busch, leader of the centre-right Christian Democrats, said.
She added that it was damaging for Sweden’s Nato bid, and its attempts to end Turkey’s opposition, that the government had for the third time placed its survival in the hands of Kakabaveh, known for pro-Kurdish and anti-Turkish statements.
Finland’s application to Nato is also being held up by Turkey but Helsinki has launched a charm offensive to win over Ankara. Finland has floated the possibility of buying Turkish drones and raised the prospect of arms deals, as well as insisting it was tough on terrorism and in particular the Kurdistan Workers’ party hated by Erdoğan.