Swedes choose the first female PM – for the second time in a week
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) – Magdalena Andersson, who last week was Sweden’s first female prime minister for a few hours before resigning because a budget defeat caused a coalition partner to quit, was re-elected on Monday as the Nordic nation’s head of government.
With 101 -173 votes with 75 abstentions, the Riksdag elected Andersson, leader of the Social Democrats, as Prime Minister with 349 seats. She will form a one-party minority government. Her cabinet is expected to be appointed on Tuesday. Formally, she will be installed after an audience with King Carl XVI Gustav, Sweden’s galleon monarch.
Andersson was prime minister for seven hours before resigning last week after the Greens left her two-party coalition. Their move followed the rejection of her government’s budget proposal in favor of one put forward by opposition parties including the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats, which are rooted in a neo-Nazi movement.
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.
In a speech to parliament, Center Party leader Annie Loof said that a female prime minister “means a lot to many girls and women to see this glass roof smashed. I am proud that (Center Party) is involved and makes this possible.” Her party abstains from voting for or against Andersson, which paves the way for her election.
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.
The right wing of the Riksdag is divided. Ulf Kristersson, leader of the opposition party Moderaterna – Sweden’s second largest – has repeatedly said that a center-right government is not feasible because no mainstream party wants to cooperate with the third largest party, the right-wing party Sweden Democrats.
Andersson’s predecessor as Prime Minister, Stefan Lofven, will still lead the Swedish government in administrative capacity until a new one is formed.
Sweden’s next parliamentary election is scheduled for 11 September.
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed without permission.