Stefan Löfven

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Stefan Löfven
Stefan Löfven efter slutdebatten i SVT 2014 (cropped).jpg
Stefan Löfven in September 2014 during the Swedish general elections
33rd Prime Minister of Sweden
Assumed office
3 October 2014
Monarch Carl XVI Gustaf
Deputy Margot Wallström (de facto)
Isabella Lövin (titular)
Preceded by Fredrik Reinfeldt
Leader of the Social Democrats
Assumed office
27 January 2012
Preceded by Håkan Juholt
Personal details
Born Kjell Stefan Löfvén
(1957-07-21) 21 July 1957 (age 59)
Stockholm, Sweden
Political party Social Democrats
Spouse(s) Ulla Löfvén (2003–present)
Residence Sager House
Signature

Kjell Stefan Löfven (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈsteːfan lœˈveːn]; born 21 July 1957) is a Swedish politician who has been the Prime Minister of Sweden since 2014 and the Leader of the Social Democrats since 2012.[1]

Prior to becoming Prime Minister and Leader of the Social Democrats, Löfven had worked as a welder before becoming an active trade unionist. He rose to become chairman of the trade union IF Metall from 2006 until being elected Leader of the Social Democrats in 2012.[2][3]

Early life and education[edit]

Löfven was born 21 July 1957 in Aspudden district, Stockholm. He was placed in an orphanage 10 months after his birth. Löfven was later looked after by a foster family from Sunnersta, Sollefteå. According to the agreement with this family, his birth mother would regain custody of him when she was able to; however, this did not happen. After meeting his brother, Stefan found out that his last name is Löfven, (spelled as Löfvén, in the Swedish population register).[4]

His foster father Ture Melander (1926–2003) was a lumberjack and then a factory worker, while his foster mother, Iris Melander (1929– ), worked as a health visitor.[5] He studied at Sollefteå High School before going on a welding course for 48 weeks at AMU in Kramfors. Löfven studied social work at Umeå University, but dropped out after a year and a half.[4]

Trade unionist[edit]

After completing his compulsory military service in the Swedish Air Force at the F 4 Frösön airbase 1976-77, Löfven began his career in 1978 as a welder at Hägglunds in Örnsköldsvik. Two years later he was chosen as the group's union representative, and went on to hold a succession of union posts. In 1995 he started as an employed ombudsman in the Swedish Metalworkers' Union, working in the areas of contract negotiations and international affairs. In 2001 he was elected vice-chairman of the Metalworkers' Union, and in November 2005 was elected as the first chairman of the newly formed trade union IF Metall.[2]

Political career[edit]

Stefan Löfven elected to become the party's new leader on 27 January 2012.

Löfven has been a member of the Social Democrats since the age of 13 and was active in SSU, the youth league, in his teens. Löfven was elected to the executive board of the Social Democrats in 2006, shortly after becoming chairman of trade union IF Metall.

Leader of the Social Democrats[edit]

In January 2012, following the resignation of Håkan Juholt, it was reported that Löfven was being considered as his successor. On 26 January 2012 the executive board nominated Löfven to become the party's new leader[6][7][8] On 27 January 2012, Löfven was elected Leader in a party-room ballot.[9][10] Löfven was confirmed as party leader at the party's bi-annual congress on 4 April 2013.[11]

Löfven led his party through the 2014 European Parliament election where the Social Democrats retained their position as the largest party from Sweden in the European Parliament. However, the election results at 24.19% was a slightly inferior than the result in 2009 European Parliament election, the party's seats in the European Parliament was reduced from six to five[12] and the party's results was the lowest in an election at the national level since universal suffrage was introduced in 1921.

Prime Minister[edit]

Stefan Löfven and his Cabinet on 3 October 2014.

Löfven led his party through the September 2014 general election, which resulted in a hung parliament.[13] The election result of 31.0% - up from 30.7% - was slightly better than the result in the 2010 general election but the result was also the party's second worst result in a general election to the Riksdag since universal suffrage was introduced in 1921.

He announced that he would form a minority coalition government consisting his own party and the Green Party. On 2 October 2014, the Riksdag approved Löfven to become Prime Minister,[14] and he took office on 3 October 2014 alongside his Cabinet. The Social Democrats and the Green Party voted in favour of Löfven becoming Prime Minister, while close ally the Left Party abstained. The opposition Alliance-parties also abstained while the far-right Sweden Democrats voted against.

Löfven has also expressed a desire for bipartisan agreement between the Government and the opposition Alliance parties and together they have marked three areas where enhanced cooperation will be initiated. The three areas are the pension system, future energy development, and security and defence policy.

Domestic policy[edit]

The Stockholm Pride parade, 2 August 2014

2014 Government crisis[edit]

The Government is a minority coalition government and the Government's budget was introduced to the Riksdag on 23 October 2014. The Left Party, which had been given influence over the budget, supported the budget. The non-socialist coalition, the Alliance, introduced a competing budget to the Riksdag on 10 November 2014, as promised prior to the 2014 general election, and the Sweden Democrats also introduced their own budget on 10 November 2014.

According to Riksdag practice the parties support their own budget and if the budget falls they abstains from voting. However, on 2 December 2014, the far-right Sweden Democrats announced that, after their own budget fell in the first voting round, they would support the Alliance parties' budget in the second voting round, thus giving that budget a majority in the Riksdag.

On 3 December 2014, the Government's budget was voted down by the Alliance parties and the Sweden Democrats and as a consequence, Löfven announced that he would call for a fresh election to be held on 22 March 2015.[15]

On 22 December 2014, sources within the Riksdag leaked information that the Government was negotiating with the Alliance parties (Moderate Party, Centre Party, Liberal People's Party and the Christian Democrats) to find a solution and to avoid a fresh election.[16] On 27 December 2014, the Government and the Alliance parties held a joint press conference where they announced that the six major parties had reached an agreement designed to ensure that minority governments would be able to get their own budget through the Riksdag. The agreement, dubbed "Decemberöverenskommelsen" (December Agreement), was called historical by Löfven and will be in force until the 2022 general election, regardless of the results of the next general election due to be held in 2018.[17][not in citation given] Subsequently, Löfven announced that he no longer intended to call a snap election.[18] The centre-right Alliance withdrew from the agreements in 2015, but allowed the minority government to continue governing.

European migrant crisis[edit]

In 2015, when a rising number of refugees and migrants[19] began to make the journey to the European Union to seek asylum, Europe was hit by a migrant crisis and Sweden allowed over 150,000 refugees to cross borders into the country in 2015.

During the autumn of 2015, the reception of refugees increased significantly to over 80,000 in two months and with terror group Islamic state rampage in the Middle East and the following attacks in Paris in November 2015, the cabinet of Löfven introduced revolutionary changes to Sweden's migration policy. On 23 October 2015, a bipartisan migration agreement was signed between the cabinet parties and the oppositional Moderate Party, the Centre Party, the Liberals and the Christian Democrats which included, among many other changes, temporary residency permits, total supply requirements for family reunification and by law forcing municipalities to accept refugees, which is distributed, throughout Sweden.[20]

On 12 November 2015, the cabinet introduced temporary border controls with immediate effect. The cabinet also proposed identity checks for every individual passing the Danish-Swedish border and closing of the Öresund Bridge, giving up the latter on 8 December 2015 after severe criticism.[21] On 17 December 2015, the Riksdag passed legislation to introduce identity checks with the votes 175 in favor, 39 against and 135 abstained.[22] On 4 January 2016, the identity checks was introduced,[23] which means that people who can not show a valid identity card, license or passport are not allowed to cross the border into Sweden, breaking with the Nordic Passport Union for the first time since 1954. Only twelve hours later the Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen announced that Denmark will implement temporary border controls along the German-Danish border with immediate effect as a consequence of Sweden's identity checks.[24]

Foreign policy[edit]

Foreign trips made by Stefan Löfven as Prime Minister (as of 3 January 2015)

In his Policy Statement, introduced to the Riksdag on 3 October 2014, Löfven said that his Government would recognize the State of Palestine. On 30 October 2014 the Government, through Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström, announced that the Government had decided to officially recognize the State of Palestine and explained the recognition by saying that it is the only solution to get to a two-state solution between Israel and the State of Palestine. Sweden is the first country within the European Union to do so after gaining membership (with other members, such as Poland, withholding recognition previously issued under Communist rule).[25] Israel called the move unconsidered and Israel recalled its ambassador, Isaac Bachman, following the recognition. Bachman returned to Sweden on 29 November 2014.[26] In December 2015 Löfven caused an outrage in Israel by claiming that stabbing attacks are not considered terrorism by international standards. Later he reiterated himself, explaining that it is now known that the stabbing attacks are sanctioned by some terror organisation.[27]

Löfven with Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, 11 February 2017

Löfven has said that the ongoing negotiations of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the European Union and the United States are very important and that it is in Sweden's interest that the managed trade agreement is implemented. However, he has said that the managed trade agreement shall not aggravate social conditions or human rights, which should be a high priority while negotiating.[28]

Löfven visited Iran in February 2017 and held talks with Ali Khamenei to improve economic relations.[29]

Personal life[edit]

Löfven enjoys sports and supports the ice hockey club Modo from Örnsköldsvik[30] and the football clubs Tottenham Hotspur[31] and GIF Sundsvall.[32]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Swedish parliament confirms Social Democrat's Lofven as new PM." Reuters. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Ordförandens sida" (in Swedish). IF Metall. Archived from the original on 28 January 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2012. 
  3. ^ "Trade Union leader new chairman of the Social Democrats - Stockholm News". stockholmnews.com. Archived from the original on 14 September 2014. Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Holmberg, Elin (26 January 2012). "Stefan Löfven: "Sörvåge är hemma"". allehanda.se (in Swedish). Retrieved 27 January 2012. 
  5. ^ Sveriges dödbok 1901-2009 [Swedish death index 1901-2009] (in Swedish) (Version 5.0 ed.). Solna: Sveriges släktforskarförbund. 2010. ISBN 978-91-87676-59-8. 
  6. ^ Stenberg, Ewa (26 January 2012). "Jag kommer att vara jätteglad att fortsätta bygga". Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish). Retrieved 26 January 2012. 
  7. ^ "Källor till SvD: Löfven ny S-ledare". Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish). 26 January 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2012. 
  8. ^ "Election hopeful Stefan Löfven aims to return Sweden to the left". Financial Times. Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  9. ^ "Positiva reaktioner på Löfven". Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish). 27 January 2012. Archived from the original on 28 January 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2012. 
  10. ^ Richard Orange. "Tough on finance, tough on migrants: how Stefan Löfven brought Sweden's left in from the cold". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  11. ^ "Stefan Löfven vald av kongressen". Socialdemokraterna. Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  12. ^ "Valresultatet.". Valmyndigheten. Retrieved 30 May 2014. 
  13. ^ "Sweden Social Democrats will end tax cuts if they win election - Reuters". Reuters. Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  14. ^ "Sverige har fått en ny statsminister". dn.se. Retrieved 2 October 2014. 
  15. ^ "Just nu: Regeringskrisen fortsätter". SvD.se. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 
  16. ^ "Förhandlingar pågår för att undvika regeringskaos". SvD.se. Retrieved 22 December 2014. 
  17. ^ "Så fungerar överenskommelsen". DN.se. Retrieved 27 December 2014. 
  18. ^ "Sparar över 100 miljoner kronor.". Aftonbladet.se. Retrieved 27 December 2014. 
  19. ^ "UNHCR viewpoint: 'Refugee' or 'migrant' – Which is right?". UNHCR. "The majority of people arriving this year in Italy and Greece especially have been from countries mired in war or which otherwise are considered to be 'refugee-producing' and for whom international protection is needed. However, a smaller proportion is from elsewhere, and for many of these individuals, the term 'migrant' would be correct."
  20. ^ Löfven: If your asylum application is turned down, you will be forced to leave Sweden.
  21. ^ The Government drop plans to close the Öresund Bridge. (in Swedish)
  22. ^ The Riksdag passes legislation on identity checks. (in Swedish)
  23. ^ Sweden implements identity checks today. (in Swedish)
  24. ^ Denmark introduces temporary controls along German border.
  25. ^ "Sweden recognizes State of Palestine.". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 30 October 2014. 
  26. ^ "Ambassadör Bachman återvänder.". Israel Idag. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  27. ^ "Swedish PM: Knife attacks are not classified as terrorism". Retrieved 8 December 2015. 
  28. ^ "Ambassadör Löfven slår tillbaka mot Sjöstedt.". Aftonbladet.se. Retrieved 3 April 2017. 
  29. ^ http://presstv.ir/Detail/2017/02/11/510109/Iran-Sweden-Iraq-Syria-US-Leader-Ayatollah-Khamenei-Stefan-Lofven
  30. ^ Staffas, Anders (2 April 2016). "Exklusivt: Statsministern Stefan Löfven hyllar Leksands IF: "En fantastisk prestation"". Dalarnas Tidningar (in Swedish). Retrieved 15 April 2017. 
  31. ^ Käck, Andreas (2 November 2015). "Krismöte – sedan gick han på match". Aftonbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved 15 April 2017. 
  32. ^ Nordström, Maria (9 August 2014). ""Hoppas verkligen att Giffarna går upp"". Sundsvalls Tidning (in Swedish). Retrieved 15 April 2017. 

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Håkan Juholt
Leader of the Social Democrats
2012–present
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
Fredrik Reinfeldt
Prime Minister of Sweden
2014–present
Incumbent
Order of precedence
Preceded by
Urban Ahlin
as Speaker of the Riksdag
Swedish order of precedence
as Prime Minister
Succeeded by
Svante Lindqvist
as Marshal of the Realm