- Magdalena Andersson was tapped to replace Stefan Lofven as party leader and PM.
- Sweden is viewed as one of Europe’s most progressive countries when it comes to gender relations.
- In Sweden, PMs can be named and governed as long as a parliamentary majority is not against them.
Sweden’s first female prime minister, Magdalena Andersson resigned Wednesday, hours after being approved in Parliament. She took the step after suffering a budget defeat in parliament and coalition partner the Greens left the two-party minority government. Andersson was tapped to replace Stefan Lofven as party leader and prime minister, roles he relinquished earlier this year.
Earlier today, Andersson was approved in Parliament and was chosen as the PM. The development marked a milestone for Sweden, viewed for decades as one of Europe’s most progressive countries when it comes to gender relations, but which had yet to have a woman in the top political post.
The government’s own budget proposal was rejected in favor of one presented by the opposition that includes the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats. Sweden’s third-largest party is rooted in a neo-Nazi movement.
“Now the government has voted for a budget that has been negotiated by a right-wing extremist party,” Green Party spokesperson Per Bolund said. “That is something we deeply regret.”
Lofven’s government had described itself as feminist, putting equality between women and men at the heart of national and international work.
The party said it is prepared to stand behind Andersson in a new vote to tap a prime minister. It was unclear what the dramatic development would lead to.
The approved budget was based on the government’s own proposal but of the 74 billion kronor ($8.2 billion) that the government wanted to spend on reforms, just over 20 billion kronor ($2.2 billion) will be redistributed next year, Swedish broadcaster SVT said. The approved budget aims at reducing taxes, increased salaries for police officers and more money to different sectors of Sweden’s judiciary system.
In a speech to parliament, Amineh Kakabaveh, an independent lawmaker who supported Andersson, noted that Sweden is currently celebrating the 100th anniversary of a decision to introduce universal and equal suffrage in the Scandinavian country.
“If women are only allowed to vote but are never elected to the highest office, democracy is not complete,” said Kakabaveh who is of Iranian Kurdish descent.
Sweden’s next general election is scheduled for Sept. 11.
(Inputs from AP)