Swedish government expected to survive after MP secures commitment on Turkey

Sweden’s government appears likely to survive its latest crisis after a Kurdish MP, whose support is crucial, said she had been assured that Stockholm would not compromise with Turkey over its candidacy NATO.

Justice Minister Morgan Johansson will face a vote of no confidence at 12 p.m. local time on Tuesday. The vote is expected to go in his favor after Amineh Kakabaveh, the far-left lawmaker who lords it over Sweden’s parliament, said she would abstain.

A vote for Johansson would in turn save the centre-left government, with Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson threatening to resign if the justice minister is expelled.

Kakabaveh said Tuesday morning that the ruling Social Democrats had “promised to me that they would stand firm and there would be absolutely no change because of the NATO issue” with Turkey. Turkey blocks Sweden’s candidacy for support from Stockholm to several Kurdish groups.

Kakabaveh has been adamant that Sweden does not bow to Turkish demands. “All of this is bad for Sweden’s reputation. They allowed a tyrant, a despot, an Islamist regime to decide what kind of politicians are in government. I have been in Sweden for 29 years and I have never been so scared,” she previously said.

Tobias Baudin, the party secretary of the Social Democrats, confirmed that a previous agreement with Kakabaveh would still be honored. The agreement dealt exclusively with Kurdish rights and included strong criticism from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Sweden’s NATO bid, Stockholm’s attempts to overcome Turkish opposition and chronic political instability have met with the latest political drama ahead of September’s parliamentary elections.

Centre-right leaders, who had backed the vote of no confidence, expressed disappointment with Johansson’s survival. The justice minister was under pressure following a sharp rise in recent years in gang shootings, as well as grenade and bombings.

The centre-right had offered to support NATO’s candidacy until the elections if Johansson was removed from office.

“Sweden’s security policy is too important to depend on agreements with far-left independent MPs,” said Ebba Busch, leader of the center-right Christian Democrats.

She added that it was damaging to Sweden’s NATO bid and its attempts to end Turkish opposition that the government had for the third time placed its survival in the hands of Kakabaveh, known for his pro- Kurds and anti-Turks.

Finland’s candidacy for NATO is also blocked by Turkey, but Helsinki has launched a charm offensive to win Ankara. Finland has raised the possibility of buying Turkish drones and raised the prospect of arms deals, while insisting that it is tough on terrorism and in particular the Kurdistan Workers’ Party hated by Erdoğan.

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