HELSINKI – Sweden's left-leaning minority government faced a crisis Wednesday after a populist party said it would support four opposition parties in a no-confidence vote against it over one of the largest security breaches in the country.
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If passed, the vote would force the ouster of three government ministers and could lead to the resignation of Prime Minister Stefan Lofven's Cabinet.
Lofven called an emergency Cabinet meeting after the head of the maverick anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats said they would back the right-wing opposition parties in a no-confidence vote, giving them the required majority to oust the ministers.
"There are only two alternatives, either a new election or he himself (Lofven) resigns," Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Akesson said.
Leaders of the opposition parties, known as the Alliance, announced their plan earlier Wednesday following reports last week that a 2015 leak allowed IT workers abroad to access confidential information in Sweden's government and police database. The security breach allegedly came about when the Transport Agency outsourced some of its services to IBM in the Czech Republic.
The three government ministers are blamed for incompetence and delaying the release of information. Lofven, who described the leak as a disaster that put Sweden and Swedes in harm's way, said he first heard about it in January — some 18 months after the leak occurred.
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Officials say they do not know if the leak caused any tangible damage. The head of the Transport Agency was fired in January for negligence and waiving security clearance requirements for some foreign IT workers, Swedish reports said.
It was not immediately clear when the no-confidence vote would take place.
Lofven's Social Democrats and the Green Party form the ruling minority coalition government with 138 seats in the 349-member Parliament. With the support of the Sweden Democrats, the Alliance would be able oust the ministers with 187 votes — well over the required 175 majority.
The vote of no-confidence motion targets Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist, Interior Minister Anders Ygeman and Infrastructure Minister Anna Johansson, who knew about the leak earlier than the prime minister but failed to inform him.