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Swedish parliament passes mini-budget after pensions compromise

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A general view of the Riksdag, Sweden’s Parliament, in Stockholm, Sweden, May 7, 2017. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Sweden’s parliament passed the government’s extra budget on Wednesday after weeks of disagreement over extra money for pensioners, paving the way for increased spending on the police, defence and additional aid to Ukraine.

The minority Social Democrat government, which hopes to win a third successive term in power at a general election in September, was forced to vote against its own budget last week to avoid having to adopt the opposition’s finance bill.

It then reintroduced interim spending plans, including around 4 billion Swedish crowns ($394 million) for pensioners and money to support Ukrainian refugees, in an extraordinary budget bill.

The new budget passed by a single vote.

The Social Democrats have a shaky hold on power and rely on support from parties that deeply distrust each other and have very different policy goals.

Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson was forced to resign on her first day in charge after losing a budget vote in November. She was later reinstated.

Earlier this month, the government just survived a no-confidence vote – thanks to the support of a lawmaker whose demands for support for Kurds in Northern Syria could complicate its attempts to join NATO.

Swedes vote in September and there is little sign that the next government will be in a stronger position than the present one. The Social Democrats are the biggest party, according to polls, but will still need support from their current allies.

What unites Minister Andersson’s backers is a wish to keep the Sweden Democrats, a populist anti-immigration party that has sided largely with the right-wing opposition, from having any influence in government.

Still, the opposition on the right looks like it will struggle to get a majority.

($1 = 10.1402 Swedish crowns)

Swedish parliament passes mini-budget after pensions compromise

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