Magdalena Andersson became Sweden’s first female prime minister on Wednesday, but within 12 hours she had drastically resigned.
Magdalena Andersson made history on Wednesday when she became Sweden’s first female Prime Minister.
But in a bizarre twist, the 54-year-old was forced to resign less than 12 hours after taking the top job when her coalition dramatically collapsed, plunging the government into chaos.
The victory of the Social Democrat, based on a vote among the deputies, was formally announced on Wednesday with a standing ovation from colleagues.
But on the first day things started to unravel after Ms Andersson’s coalition partner resigned and her budget was not approved, and the Swedish parliament adopted the opposition budget.
“I have told the speaker that I wish to resign,” Ms. Andersson told the media a few hours after her historic victory.
However, he stressed that he planned to regain the post of prime minister in the future on his own terms, and not as part of a coalition.
“There is a constitutional practice that a coalition government must resign when a party resigns,” he continued.
“I don’t want to run a government whose legitimacy will be questioned.”
Ms Andersson had secured victory after making a last minute agreement with the Left party to increase pensions in exchange for their support in the vote, but that very agreement caused the Center party to withdraw, which meant that the budget was doomed.
The approval of the alternative budget led to the resignation of the leader of the Greens, Per Bolund, citing the fact that it has been “drafted for the first time with the extreme right”.
Powerful women in the Nordic region
Before Andersson’s victory, Sweden was the only Nordic nation that had never elected a woman to leadership, despite its reputation as an advocate for gender equality.
Denmark’s current Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen became the second woman to hold the post in June 2019.
Gro Harlem Brundtland became Norway’s first female prime minister in 1981, while Anneli Tuulikki Jäätteenmäki was Finland’s first female prime minister in 2003.
In February 2009, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir became Iceland’s first female PM and the world’s first openly LGBT female head of government.
Ms Andersson’s election, which came exactly 100 years after women first got the vote in Sweden, was seen by many as a huge step forward for women, with the leader herself declaring that it was “a special day”.
However, Ms Andersson, who previously served as finance minister for seven years and replaced former leader Stefan Löfven, won the leadership by just one vote.
The former junior swimming champion had taken over as her party’s leader in November and her main policies included making Sweden a climate transition leader and cracking down on the recent privatization of the welfare sector.
Originally posted as Magdalena Andersson, Prime Minister of Sweden, resigns on the first day