NATO membership to remain new Swedish government's priority, Moderate Party leader says

Right-wing leader Kristersson asked to form new government after narrow election win.

NATO membership to remain new Swedish government's priority, Moderate Party leader says

Sweden’s right-wing leader Ulf Kristersson, formally asked to try to form a government after a narrow election victory, said on Monday that NATO membership would remain a priority.

Addressing a press conference in Stockholm, the Moderate Party leader said he will keep outgoing Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson's state secretary as Sweden's chief negotiator until the accession process is complete.

He said Oscar Stenstrom would remain to ensure continuity in Sweden's application process to the 30-member military alliance.

Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership in response to Russia's war on Ukraine, but faced opposition from Türkiye, which accuses them of supporting terrorist groups such as the PKK.

The two Nordic countries signed a memorandum with Türkiye in June for cooperation in the latter's fight against terrorism. Ankara says it will greenlight their accession only if they address its concerns.

Kristersson said the NATO membership issue is just as important now as it was and will remain as is "all the way forward."

In a meeting with Stenstrom, Kristersson formally asked him to remain in the role of Sweden's chief negotiator on the matter, even after the new government is formed. According to Kristersson, Stenstrom accepted the offer.

"I have a lot of confidence in his competence and his ability to lead these negotiations," the far-right leader said.

Andersson stepped down last week after the right-wing bloc won 176 seats against her center-left alliance’s 173 in the Sept. 11 vote.

Hüseyin Demir