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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Magdalena Andersson, Sweden’s first female prime minister, resigns after a few hours in office after budget defeat

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Sweden’s Prime Minister-elect Magdalena Andersson addresses a press conference after the budget vote in the Swedish parliament on November 24, 2021, shortly before she submitted her resignation a few hours after her appointment by parliament. .

PONTUS LUNDAHL / TT News Agency / AFP / Getty

Copenhagen, denmark – Hours after being elected as Sweden’s first woman prime minister, Magdalena Andersson resigned on Wednesday after suffering a budget defeat in parliament and her coalition partner, the Greens, left the bipartisan minority government. The government’s own budget proposal was rejected in favor of one put forward by the opposition that includes right-wing populist Swedish Democrats.

The Sweden Democrats, the country’s third-largest party, has its roots in a national neo-Nazi movement, but has since repudiated fascism.

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

Andersson, leader of the Social Democratic Party, decided it was best to leave office 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 also don’t want to lead a government where there may be grounds to question its legitimacy,” Andersson told a news conference.

Andersson, who was finance minister before briefly becoming prime minister, informed Parliament Speaker Andreas Norlen that she is still interested in leading a Social Democratic one-party government.

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

Andersson said that “a coalition government should resign if a party decides to leave the government. Although the parliamentary situation has not changed, we must try again.”

Although the Green Party withdrew its support for his government, he said it was prepared to back Andersson in a new vote to elect a prime minister. But the Greens said the best thing for the party was to get support for her after the budget defeat in parliament.

Andersson’s appointment as prime minister marked a milestone for Sweden, considered for decades one of the most progressive countries in Europe when it comes to gender relations, but which did not yet have a woman in the highest political office.

Andersson had been chosen to replace Stefan Lofven as party leader and prime minister, roles he resigned earlier this year.

Hours earlier, 117 legislators voted yes to Andersson, 174 rejected his appointment, 57 abstained and one legislator was absent. Under the Swedish Constitution, prime ministers can be appointed and govern as long as a parliamentary majority (a minimum of 175 legislators) is not against them.

Sweden’s next general election is scheduled for September 11.

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