Swedish parliament to vote on new speaker

Image copyright AP Image caption The vote sparked chaos in the parliament and left opposition leaders angry

Swedish lawmakers will vote on Friday on a former journalist appointed as the new speaker of parliament.

The move came after a week of chaos and the ousting of the previous speaker, Ulf Kristersson.

Johan Andersson was appointed speaker of the 349-seat chamber last week after both Mr Kristersson and incumbent Andreas Norlen resigned.

Mr Andersson’s controversial nomination sparked calls for a new vote on the issue.

But a draft resolution agreed on by all parties on Thursday made clear the vote on Mr Andersson would go ahead as planned on Friday.

About 150 parliamentarians are expected to vote on the new Speaker at the end of the week.

Although parliament holds an annual election every year, speakers traditionally rotate annually between their parties to serve a two-year stint in the role.

Mr Kristersson resigned on Monday in protest at the appointment of Mr Andersson, whom he accused of failing to put Sweden’s interests first.

Mr Norlen stepped down on Tuesday in protest at the process leading to Mr Andersson’s appointment, with a separate resolution calling for a new vote.

Sweden’s politicians have until 1 December to present a new speaker to parliament, when it will then vote again, but it is unclear if that will take place.

Opposition leaders criticised the motion on Mr Andersson, who they said should have been removed over inappropriate remarks made about his Indian wife in the 1990s.

“Whether the new speaker is a public figure or not, it’s scandalous that he has this chair,” Jens Stoltenberg, opposition leader in parliament, told the BBC.

But the Social Democrat party, which is opposed to Mr Andersson, is unlikely to get a vote if the opposition parties vote together on Friday.

“If there’s a strong minority government, then the speaker will be appointed by the majority in parliament, which would be the Social Democrats, the Moderates and the Left party,” Atle Pedersen, a member of parliament from the Left party, told the BBC.

“And so that means that when the minority government decides who is going to be the speaker, they would already have their way.”

Whether parliament will be able to forge a consensus on the new speaker is unclear, although all parties are agreed that the original process was flawed.

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