Kjell Stefan Löfvén (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.
Prior to becoming Prime Minister and Leader of the Social Democrats, Löfvén had worked as a welder before becoming an active trade unionist. He rose to become chairman of the powerful trade union IF Metall from 2006 until being elected Leader of the Social Democrats in 2012.
Early life and education
Löfvén was born 21 July 1957 in Stockholm. He was placed in an orphanage 10 months after his birth. Löfvén 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 Löfvén, (spelled as Löfvén, in the Swedish population register).
His foster father Ture Melander (1926–2003) was a lumberjack and then a factory worker, while his foster mother, Iris Melander, worked as a health visitor. He studied at Sollefteå High School before going on a welding course for 48 weeks at AMU in Kramfors. Löfvén studied social work at Umeå University, but dropped out after a year and a half.
Löfvén began his career in 1979 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 to be the first chairman of the newly formed trade union IF Metall.
Löfvén has been a member of the Social Democrats since the age of 13 and was active in SSU, the youth league, in his teens. Löfvén 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
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 Löfvén to become the party's new leader On 27 January 2012, Löfvén was elected Leader in a party-room ballot. Löfvén was confirmed as party leader at the party's annual congress on 4 April 2013.
Löfvén 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 and the party's results was the lowest in an election at the national level since universal suffrage was introduced in 1921.
Löfvén led his party through the 2014 general election which resulted in a hung parliament. The election result of 31.0% - up from 30.7% - was slightly better than the result in 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 the country's Prime Minister, and he took office on 3 October 2014 alongside his Cabinet. The Social Democrats and the Green Party voted in favour of Löfvén becoming Prime Minister, while close ally the Left Party abstained. The oppositional Alliance-parties also abstained while far-right Sweden Democrats voted against.
Löfvén has also expressed a desire for partisan agreement between the Government and the oppositional Alliance parties and together they have marked three areas where enhanced cooperation will be initiated. The three areas area the pension system, future energy development, security- and defence policy.
2014 Government crisis
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 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 far-right Sweden Democrats and as a consequence, Löfven announced that he would call for a fresh election to be held on 22 March 2015.
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. 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. Subsequently, Löfven announced that he no longer intends to call a snap election.
In his Policy Statement, introduced to the Riksdag on 3 October 2014, Löfvén 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's 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, withholds recognition previously issued under Communist rule). Israel called the move unconsidered and Israel recalled its ambassador, Isaac Bachman, following the recognition. Bachman returned to Sweden on 29 November 2014.
Löfvén 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's in Sweden's interest that the free trade agreement is implemented. However, he has said that the free trade agreement shall not aggravate social conditions or human rights, which should be a high priority while negotiating.
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- "Ambassadör Löfven slår tillbaka mot Sjöstedt.". Aftonbladet.se. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
|Prime Minister of Sweden
|Party political offices|
|Leader of the Social Democrats
|Order of precedence|
as Speaker of the Riksdag
|Swedish order of precedence
as Prime Minister
| Succeeded by|
as Marshal of the Realm
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