A Deputy PM who isn’t (if you are in Sweden and the deputy is a “green”)

The Swedish Social Democrats were forced to bring the Environmental Party into government to cobble together a majority in parliament with external support from the Left Party (rebranded communists). The leader of the Greens, Åsa Romson, was given the title of “Deputy Prime Minister” but it has now been revealed that in the agreement between the Social Democrats and the Greens, the position was entirely titular. Fortunately the Social Democrats were sane enough and responsible enough not to allow the possibility of a Green Deputy PM actually stepping in to replace the PM when he was abroad or ill. That would be more frightening than nuclear weapons with a rogue state.

This agreement came to light this week when the PM, Stefan Löfven, was taken ill – just for a few hours – on his return from a trip abroad. Though he has not named any particular person to fill his empty shoes, it is usually the Foreign Minister, Margot Wallström, also a Social Democrat, who steps in.

Opposition parties have been quick to take pot-shots. “Unconstitutional”, said some of them, “to have a deputy who wasn’t”.

All good fun, but there is a serious point. The Greens are not seen, even by their partners in government, as being responsible enough to be allowed to take the reins. And that is the reality. The 6 Green Party Ministers in this government have, in my perception, amply demonstrated their inexperience which borders on the incompetent. They are a destructive force, primarily concerned with stopping actions from others,  but have few constructive ideas of their own. They raise barriers when others want to “do” but “do” very little themselves.

Dagens Nyheter: The Green Party spokesperson Åsa Romson’s is Deputy Prime Minister – but will still not act as replacement for Stefan Löfven (S). Instead, it is Margot Wallström, who has that role in government.

According to information provided to DN the Social Democrat leaders did  not want to give Romson the responsibility to lead the country in a crisis.

“Stefan Löfven has not appointed a deputy. Since no specific proxy has been appointed the role is taken by the longest serving Minister” says Hans Dahlgren (S), State Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office.

In the red-green government, Foreign Minister, Margot Wallström is the longest serving minister. Therefore she has, whenever available, led most of the cabinet meetings that have taken place since last autumn whenever Stefan Löfven has been abroad or absent for other reasons.

…….. when the Social Democrats and the Green Party negotiated for government posts last autumn, the parties agreed that Åsa Romsons title as Deputy Prime Minister was merely titular.

“We made no demands about getting an operational deputy post when we negotiated to enter government. It was more important for us to have clear responsibilities and cooperation in government”, says Åsa Romson.

The issue came to a head on Thursday when Stefan Löfven after a trip to Ethiopia suffered acute nausea and was taken by ambulance from the airport to the Karolinska University Hospital. But it took more than a day for the Prime Minister to answer DN’s questions on the matter.

The Green Party is based on agitation when in opposition. In government they flop about like fish on dry land.

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