On Tuesday morning, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven lost a mandatory confidence vote in parliament.
The result of the vote will see Lofven step down. This is the first time a Swedish prime minister has been ousted by such vote, and it ends four years of Social Democratic rule. There is no certainty regarding who will form the next government as neither major political bloc holds a majority.
The vote was mandatory after a general election that delivered a hung parliament on Sept. 9. with Lofven's centre-left bloc the Social Democrats garnering 144 seats, one more than the centre-right opposition Alliance at 143.
The anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, with 62 seats, also backed the vote to remove Lofven, but it remains unclear whether they will back an Alliance government.
What happens to Lofven?
Lofven will remain caretaker prime minister until his replacement is announced.
He said that his party, the Social Democrats, will never support an Alliance government and will continue to work to build a new government across the political divide, adding that very few people want a new election, including voters.
On Monday, parliament elected Andreas Norlen of the opposition Alliance bloc as its speaker, giving the four-party group a slight advantage. He will now be tasked with selecting a prime ministerial candidate.
Analysts expect the speaker to pick Ulf Kristersson, leader of the biggest Alliance party, the Moderates, to try to form a new administration.
"For the Alliance it's obvious that we need a new political direction and hence a new government," he said Tuesday.
But lacking a majority, he needs support either from the hard right Sweden Democrats, or the centre left.
"If the Alliance parties choose to try to govern as the smallest bloc, then they make themselves totally dependent on the Sweden Democrats," Lofven said.
Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Akesson repeated on Tuesday his party wanted a say in policy as the price of supporting a new government.
"We will do everything in our power to stop any attempt to form a government, do everything to bring down every government, which does not give us a reasonable influence in proportion to our electoral support," Akesson said.
If none of the upcoming prime ministerial candidates pan out, fresh elections will be called. It is not impossible that, at the end of this process, Swedes find themselves with the same prime minister.