Sweden’s first female PM resigns hours after appointment

by BERNAMA / pic by AFP

STOCKHOLM – Shortly after Social Democrat leader Magdalena Andersson (picture) was elected by Parliament as Sweden’s first female Prime Minister, she tendered her resignation after facing the harsh reality of having to lead a minority coalition government.

Just hours after she was elected the Prime Minister on Wednesday, Parliament (Riksdag) passed the opposition’s budget proposal prompting Andersson’s coalition partner the Green Party to pull its support. This, in turn, forced Andersson to announce her resignation, reported Xinhua news agency.

Wednesday’s events were a result of the inconclusive outcome of the 2018 elections, which led to a lengthy process of finding a government in a political landscape where certain parties do everything in their power to block their ideological opponents from having any form of influence.

In comparison, the election of Andersson was a breeze. To be elected prime minister, she only needed a majority of lawmakers in the 349-seat Riksdag not voting against her. She was backed by 117 but rejected by 174, with 57 deputies abstaining. One deputy was absent.

Andersson’s election followed an 11th-hour deal with the Left Party, which demanded a raise in pensions for around 7,00,000 of the poorest pensioners in return for not pressing the red button.

However, later in the day the ruling coalition’s budget proposal was voted down in favour of the budget proposed jointly by the Moderate Party, the Sweden Democrats and the Christian Democrats.

This came after the Centre Party, which accepted Andersson as the prime minister in an attempt to shut out the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, decided not to vote for the government’s budget proposal, as they saw the deal as too sharp a turn to the Left despite the fact that the government had also made concessions to appease the Centre Party.

Andersson, who since 2014 has served as the finance minister under former Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, said that she could lead the country with the opposition’s budget, describing it as requiring only minor tweaks. However, the Green Party had a different opinion.

After the Riksdag passed the opposition’s budget, the Greens announced that they would leave the government as they could not stand behind a budget negotiated by the Sweden Democrats.

The Riksdag will now have to elect a new prime minister. The Green Party has said they would support Andersson, who in turn said she was prepared to lead a single-party government.