22 March 2018

Swedish opposition to seek to block tax increases

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Sweden's center-right opposition parties will try to block tax increased planned by the minority coalition government, flexing their muscles ahead of what is expected to be a tight election next year.

The Moderate, Center, Liberal and Christian Democrat parties have agreed to demand the government drop plans for an airline tax, changes to tax rules for small companies and a measure to increase the number of people paying state income tax, a source with knowledge of the situation said.

"The Alliance is going to say in committee that we are ready to act to prevent damaging tax hikes, for example in the form of a vote of no-confidence," the source said.

The Social Democrat-Green government, supported by the Left Party in parliament has said it plans the tax hikes to take effect in 2018.

If the government does not withdraw the proposal, the Alliance - which governed as a bloc between 2006 and 2014 - would probably table a vote of no-confidence in Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson later this year.

For the strategy to succeed, the Alliance will need backing from the Sweden Democrats, support the anti-immigrant party has said it would offer.

The center-left's first budget after winning the election in 2014 was voted down by the Alliance and Sweden Democrats.

But faced with political deadlock and wary of being seen as in league with the far-right Sweden Democrats, the Alliance agreed not to use the tactic again leaving it facing accusations of having abandoned its role as an opposition.

With polls showing the Sweden Democrats with around 20 percent of the vote, the Alliance needs to show it is a viable opposition to the current government or risk voters dismissing it as irrelevant.

2017.06.15 / 17:38
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