Magdalena Andersson has become Sweden’s Prime Minister for the second time in a week. Her previous assignment ended after just seven hours, but in another vote in parliament on Monday, she received enough support to regain her prime ministerial post.
Andersson, leader of the center-left Social Democrats, is Sweden’s first female prime minister.
The 54-year-old will lead the country for the next 10 months before the election, which will be heavily questioned by the center-right and nationalist parties, who claim that the Social Democratic-led governments over the past seven years have done little to prevent Sweden from turning into a hotspots for gang crime, including shootings and grenade attacks.
Andersson’s first attempt to become prime minister ended in chaos. Hours after being appointed prime minister on Wednesday, she lost a parliamentary vote on the budget she wrote as finance minister, her coalition government collapsed and she resigned – all in seven frantic hours. She will now lead a minority government with one party.
On Monday, Andersson said at a press conference: “Someone must be prime minister of this country, and there seems to be no alternative.”
She admitted that the events of the past week were seen by many as “odd”, but said that it felt “very good” to be elected Sweden’s first female prime minister.
She said that her government would try to take Sweden forward in three main areas: welfare, climate change and the fight against gang crime and segregation.
Stefan Lofven resigned as Prime Minister and Social Democratic leader this month after becoming the first Swedish head of government to lose a no-confidence vote after far-left and far-right parties joined forces to oust him.
Sweden’s politics has been in turmoil over the past decade due to the rise of the nationalist Sweden Democrats, who received 17.5 percent of the vote in the 2018 election and have occasionally topped opinion polls.
Originally expelled from all other parties due to its roots in the neo-Nazi movement, the Sweden Democrats are now embraced by most of the mainstream center-right. The Sweden Democrats’ budget – written together with the main opposition party the Moderates and the Christian Democrats – was adopted by the Riksdag last week, which means that Andersson will be forced to govern with his spending plans. She will have the opportunity to try to revise those plans in the spring.
Sweden, known for its focus on gender equality and feminism, is the last Nordic country to have a female prime minister, 40 years after Norway.