STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden’s Deputy Prime Minister Asa Romson resigned on Monday after her Green Party proposed replacing her as leader, dealing a blow to the center-left coalition government which has been struggling since it took power in 2014.
Romson’s resignation forced Social Democratic Prime Minister Stefan Lofven to announce that he will reshuffle his cabinet before the end of May. He said he will keep the Greens as junior coalition partners.
If the Greens withdraw from the coalition, the Social Democrats could govern alone until 2018 or a snap election could be called. The coalition is lagging the center-right bloc in opinion polls.
Earlier on Monday, the Green Party’s election committee proposed replacing Romson as it’s joint leader, saying she no longer had sufficient support after a series of scandals involving party members.
It recommended fellow leader Education Minister Gustav Fridolin remain and proposed that Isabella Lovin, now Minister for International Development, replace Romson as co-leader.
Romson told local news agency TT she will leave government.
Dissatisfaction with the Green Party leadership has grown since a row involving Housing Minister Mehmet Kaplan, who resigned last month partly over comments he made seven years ago comparing Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to the plight of Jews in Nazi Germany.
Romson and Fridolin had asked the party convention on May 13-15 to vote on whether to replace them. The convention had been expected to vote in line with the committee’s proposals.
A surge in support for the far-right Sweden Democrats has overturned decades of stable politics and left parliament gridlocked. Record numbers of asylum seekers have led to policy U-turns that have angered the Greens and deepened divisions in the ruling coalition.
An opinion poll last week showed support for the Greens running at just above the 4 percent threshold for seats in parliament, their lowest for 10 years.
Support for the Social Democrats has also declined. Together with the Left Party, the government coalition has 39 percent support, compared with 43 percent for the center-right opposition parties. The Sweden Democrats have 15.3 percent.
Reporting by Johan Sennero and Daniel Dickson; Editing by Janet Lawrence