Pontus Lundahl / TT via AP
COPENHAGEN, Denmark – Hours after being named Sweden’s first female prime minister, Magdalena Andersson resigned on Wednesday after suffering a budget defeat in parliament and her coalition partner The Greens left the minority government with two parties.
The government’s own budget proposal was rejected in favor of one presented by the opposition, which includes the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats. Sweden’s third largest party is rooted in a neo – Nazi movement. The vote was 154-143 for the opposition’s budget proposal.
Andersson, leader of the Social Democratic Party, decided that it was best to step down more than seven hours after she wrote history by becoming the first woman to lead the country.
– For me, it is about respect, but I also do not want to lead a government where there may be reason to question its legitimacy, Andersson said at a press conference.
The coalition partner Miljöpartiet withdrew its support
Andersson, who was Minister of Finance before he briefly became Prime Minister, informed the Speaker of the Riksdag Andreas Norlen that she is still interested in leading a Social Democratic one-party government.
Norlen, the speaker of Sweden’s Riksdag with 349 seats, said he would contact Sweden’s eight party leaders “to discuss the situation.” On Thursday, he will announce the way forward.
Andersson said that “a coalition government should resign if a party chooses to leave the government. Although the parliamentary situation is unchanged, it needs to be tried again.”
Although the Green Party withdrew its support for her government, they said they were prepared to stand behind Andersson in a new vote to knock on a prime minister.
But the Greens said it was in the party’s best interest to support her after the budget defeat in parliament.
“We have a united party behind us that says we can not sit in a government that implements a policy (the Sweden Democrats) negotiated. We must look our voters in the eye and feel pride,” said Marta Stenevi, the Green Party’s spokesperson elected by the party. to resign from the government.
The other Green Party spokesman Per Bolund said “this is something we deeply regret.”
Andersson’s appointment had marked a milestone
Earlier in the day, Andersson said she could “govern the country with the opposition’s budget”.
The approved budget was based on the government’s own proposal, but of the SEK 74 billion ($ 8.2 billion) that the government wanted to spend on reforms, just over SEK 20 billion ($ 2.2 billion) will be redistributed next year, SVT states. The approved budget aims to reduce taxes, raise salaries for police officers and more money for various parts of Sweden’s judiciary.
Andersson’s appointment as Prime Minister had marked a milestone for Sweden, which for decades was considered one of Europe’s most progressive countries in terms of gender relations, but which did not yet have a woman in the top political post.
Andersson had been hired to replace Stefan Lofven as party leader and prime minister, roles he resigned earlier this year.
Earlier in the day, 117 lawmakers voted in favor of Andersson, 174 rejected her appointment while 57 abstained and one lawmaker was absent.
According to the Swedish constitution, prime ministers can be appointed and govern as long as a parliamentary majority – at least 175 legislators – is not against them.
Sweden’s next parliamentary election is scheduled for 11 September.