Swedish PM threatens to resign if justice minister ousted in no-confidence vote

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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden's prime minister threatened on Thursday to step down just three months before a general election is due, if the centre-right opposition succeeds in winning a vote of no-confidence against the interior minister over his handling of gang crime.

The Moderates, the Liberals and the Christian Democrats parties said they would support a no-confidence vote planned for next week against Justice and Interior minister Morgan Johansson called by the populist Sweden Democrats party.

They say Johansson should take responsibility for failing to tackle gang crime that has led to a wave of shootings and murders in recent years..

The four parties plus one more member of parliament would be needed for the vote to be passed.

Prime Minster Magdalena Andersson told a news conference she would "certainly" step down and that the government would then resign too if Johansson were voted out.

"Then there will be a government crisis, and that is not what Sweden needs," she said.

Sweden, together with Finland, last month applied to join the NATO alliance amid security concerns in the Nordic region following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

But Turkey's objections have put the process on hold and left Sweden and Finland's hopes of a quick accession in tatters.

Sweden goes to the polls on Sept. 11 and Ulf Kristersson, leader of the Moderate party - the biggest in the opposition - said Andersson was trying to scare other parties into backing her.

"We plan to replace this whole government - at the latest at the election, but the sooner the better," he said in a post on Facebook.

(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Grant McCool)

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