Sweden’s first female prime minister steps down after hours in office

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Elected Prime Minister of Sweden Magdalena Andersson addresses a press conference after the budget vote in the Swedish Parliament on November 24, 2021, just hours after her appointment by parliament as she tenders her resignation.

PONTUS LUNDAHL/TT NEWS AGENCY/AFP/GETTY


Copenhagen, Denmark – Hours after being tapped as Sweden’s first female prime minister, Magdalena Andersen resigned on Wednesday after suffering a budget defeat in parliament and her coalition partner the Greens leaving a two-party minority government. The government’s own budget proposal was rejected in favor of one presented by the opposition which includes right-wing populist Sweden Democrats.



The Sweden Democrats, the country’s third largest party, have their roots in the national neo-Nazi movement, but have since rejected fascism.

The vote in favor of the opposition’s budget proposal was 154–143.



Andersen, the leader of the Social Democratic Party, made the best decision to step down, more than seven hours after she made history by becoming the first woman to lead the country.

“For me, it’s about respect, but I don’t want to lead a government that has grounds to question its legitimacy,” Anderson told a news conference.



Andersen, who had been finance minister for some time before becoming prime minister, informed parliamentary speaker Andreas Knorlen that he was still interested in leading a Social Democratic one-party government.

Norlen, the speaker of Sweden’s 349-seat parliament, said he would contact eight Swedish party leaders “to discuss the situation”. On Thursday, he will announce the way forward.



Anderson stated that “a coalition government must resign if a party chooses to leave the government. Despite the fact that the parliamentary position remains unchanged, it needs to be tried again.”

Even though the Green Party pulled its support for his government, it said it was prepared to stand behind Anderson in a new vote to tap a prime minister. But the Greens said it was in the party’s best interest to gain support for him after the budget defeat in Parliament.

Andersen’s appointment as prime minister marked a milestone for Sweden, which for decades was seen as one of Europe’s most progressive countries when it comes to gender relations, but so far There was not a woman in the top political position.

Andersen was tapped as party leader and prime minister to replace Stefan Löfven, roles he had left earlier this year.

Earlier in the day, 117 lawmakers voted yes for Anderson, 174 rejected his appointment, while 57 abstained and one legislator abstained. Under the Swedish constitution, prime ministers can be named and governed unless a parliamentary majority – a minimum of 175 MPs – is against them.

The next general election in Sweden is to be held on 11 September.

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