Magdalena Andersson, Sweden’s First Female Prime Minister, Steps Down Just Hours After Being Appointed, As The Social Democratic Party’s Coalition With The Greens Falls Apart

Magdalena Andersson stepped down on Wednesday evening, only hours after becoming Sweden’s first female prime minister, following a budget setback in parliament and the loss of her coalition partner in a two-party minority administration. Ms. Andersson said that she had to resign due to the Green Party’s decision to leave the two-party coalition, but said that she had notified the house speaker that she wanted to be named prime minister again as the leader of a single-party administration. After the coalition’s budget package was rejected by parliament, the Green Party announced that it would quit the government.

“It’s about respect for me, but I also don’t want to lead a government where its legitimacy is called into question,” Ms. Andersson said at a press conference. “If a party chooses to quit the government, a coalition government should resign. It needs to be tried again, notwithstanding the fact that the parliamentary position remains unchanged,” she continued. Her resignation came as a surprise in the middle of a tumultuous and momentous day in Swedish politics. Ms. Andersson had lately become the leader of the governing Social Democratic Party, and the Swedish parliament had just accepted her as the country’s first female prime minister.

Ms. Andersson had declared early on Wednesday that she would not quit if she lost the budget vote, but had decided to subsequently backtrack on her decision. At a press conference, Ms. Andersson said: “I am of the opinion that [the opposition budget] as a whole is something I can live with.” Her selection was initially seen as a watershed moment for Sweden, which has long been regarded as one of Europe’s most progressive countries in terms of gender equality but has yet to have a female prime minister.

Amineh Kakabaveh, an independent lawmaker who backed Ms. Andersson, said in an address to parliament that Sweden was commemorating the 100th anniversary of a decision to introduce universal and equal suffrage in the Scandinavian country. “Democracy is incomplete if women are merely able to vote but never elected to the highest office. This decision has a symbolic significance,” Ms. Kakabaveh remarked. Ms. Andersson had hoped to get the support of two other smaller parties, the Left Party and the Centre Party, which had previously backed Sweden’s last center-left minority administration. The next stage in the process of creating a new government will be decided by the speaker of parliament.

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