Swedish govt survives key vote amid troubled NATO bid

Copenhagen: Sweden's justice minister narrowly survived a no confidence vote in parliament Tuesday over surging crime, in a ballot that had threatened to topple Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson's minority government as the country is jockeying to join NATO amid strong opposition from Turkey. But the key move that saved the government came from independent, Kurdish Iranian-born lawmaker Amineh Kakabaveh, who's a red rag for Turkey: a vocal critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and a former member of an armed Kurdish militant group who speaks up for the Kurdish cause.

Turkey which as a NATO member has a blocking vote has opposed the bids by Sweden and neighboring Finland to join NATO amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Erdogan accuses the two Nordic countries of backing militant Kurdish groups like the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, a group listed as terrorist by the European Union and the US that has waged a long and bloody insurrection in Turkey.

In Tuesday's ballot in Sweden's 349-seat parliament, the right-leaning opposition had secured 174 votes, one short of the required 175. After Kakabaveh abstained, there were still 174 votes against Justice Minister Mogan Johansson, 97 in his favor, 70 abstentions and eight absentees.

Prime Minister Andersson, the leader of the Social Democrats, had said that if the no confidence vote was approved her government would resign. Sweden faces general elections on Sept. 11. In recent years, Sweden has suffered a rise in organized crime activity with several gang-related shootings in its the major cities of Stockholm, Goteborg and Malmo.

Last week, the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats had called for the no confidence vote, claiming Johansson had allowed Sweden to become a gangster country.

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