Politics

Why Sweden’s first female PM resigned hours after appointment

REUTERS
Image caption,
Many MPs gave Magdalena Andersson (right) a standing ovation in the Riksdag earlier on Wednesday

REUTERS
Image caption,
Many MPs gave Magdalena Andersson (right) a standing ovation in the Riksdag earlier on Wednesday

Sweden’s first ever female prime minister has relegated just hours after she was appointed.

Magdalena Andersson, was publicly declared as leader on Wednesday but resigned after her alliance partner left the government and her budget passage was unsuccessful.

Alternatively, parliament voted for a budget drawn up by the opposition which contains the anti-immigrant far right.

“I have told the speaker that I wish to resign,” Ms Andersson told reporters.

Her coalition partner, the Green Party said it could not accept a budget

“drafted for the first time with the far-right”.

Ms Andersson said that she expected to try to become prime minister once more as a single party government leader.

“There is a constitutional practice that a coalition government should resign when one party quits,”

the Social Democrat stated on Wednesday.

“I don’t want to lead a government whose legitimacy will be questioned.

The speaker of parliament said he would communicate party leaders on the next action to take.

Ms Andersson was chosen as prime minister earlier on Wednesday since under Swedish law, she at most needed a majority of MPs not to vote against her.

A hundred years after Swedish women were given the vote, the 54-year-old Social Democrat leader was given a standing applause by sections of the parliament, or Riksdag.

Her election at the head of a minority government was sequel to an 11th-hour deal with the opposition Left party, in exchange for higher pensions for many Swedes. She as well obtained the support of alliance partner the Greens.

Out of the 349 members of the Riksdag, 174 voted against her. Still on top of the 117 MPs who backed Ms Andersson, a further 57 abstained, giving her victory by a single vote.

One-time junior swimming champion from the university city of Uppsala, she started her political career in 1996 as political adviser to then-Prime Minister Goran Persson. She has spent the past seven years as finance minister.

Before MPs supported Magdalena Andersson, Sweden was the solely Nordic state never to have a woman as PM.

Becoming the first woman prime minister in Swedish history should have been reason for a night of commemoration
for Magdalena Andersson, still the sun had almost not set when she handed in her quit notice.

The complication of Swedish politics mean we can’t presumes we’ve seen the last of her, though.In the event that there’s another prime ministerial vote, Ms Andersson will most likely get voted in again. This is due to the fact that the Green Party has assured to support her, in-spite of resigning as a formal coalition partner. Yet she’d end up in a risky position at the helm of a brittle minority government, and would yet have to stick to the right-wing budget so far voted on by parliament.

What all this political confusion has underlined is just how divided Swedish politics is right now. We’ll have to wait and see whether voters break the deadlock with a noteworthy shift to the right or the left at next year’s elections.

Integrating the Swedish way (from 2018)

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