Sweden Gets a Woman as Prime Minister for the First Time

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In Sweden, Magdalena Andersson, the leader of the Social Democratic Party, has been elected Prime Minister. She is the first woman ever to hold that post.

 

Andersson succeeds party colleague Stefan Löfven, who resigned earlier this year after losing a confidence vote in parliament. Also, for Andersson, a government crisis is imminent.

You cannot really call the appointment of Magdalena Andersson really convincing. 117 MPs voted in favour, 57 abstained, and 174 voted against. But Sweden’s constitution provides that a prime minister can be appointed without a majority, as long as most MPs do not vote against it. So that would have to be 175, only 1 vote against more than was the case now.

So with the heels over the ditch. In any case, weeks of uncertainty over who would lead the government is now coming to an end following the resignation of Prime Minister Stefan Löfven earlier this year. Löfven, a fellow party member of Andersson’s, resigned after losing a confidence vote in parliament. It was the first time in Swedish politics that a prime minister lost such a vote.

The cause of the political crisis – yet another under Löfven – was disagreement about rental market reform. The Left Party, among others, withdrew its support for the minority government of Social Democrats and Greens.

Löfven remained in power as the resigning prime minister. Andersson, hitherto finance minister, will now form a new government, which may once again be a minority government of Social Democrats and Greens.

The start of her reign promises to be turbulent. The government budget law will be voted on later today. It looks like parliament will vote it down and pass an opposition bill. However, Andersson has said she would lead the government, even if the opposition’s proposal wins, which she says she “can live with”.

When she takes the oath – probably later this week – Magdalena Andersson (54) will be the first woman to become prime minister of Sweden. It is striking that this is only happening now: Sweden is one of the most progressive countries in Europe concerning equality between men and women and gender in general. But the top of politics remained a man’s business.

However, this government will not be in power for very long because parliamentary elections will take place in September next year.

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