Magdalena Andersson becomes Sweden’s first female prime minister

Magdalena Andersson becomes Sweden's first female prime minister
Magdalena Andersson on her way to the vote in parliament. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT
Social Democrat leader Magdalena Andersson will become Sweden's new prime minister, after parliament voted to confirm her on Wednesday morning. But she'll face her first big challenge in only a few hours.

The abstentions of the Centre Party and Left Party, and support of the Green Party and her own Social Democrats, brought Andersson to the the magic 174 mandates – exactly the same as the number of right-wing members of parliament who voted no.

But as under Sweden’s system a prime ministerial candidate does not need the support of a majority in parliament, as long as the majority does not actively vote against them, this meant that Andersson’s bid was successful with a razor-thin margin.

One member of parliament was not present in the chamber and did not vote.

Andersson is now set to formally take over the prime ministerial reins from Stefan Löfven following a meeting with King Carl XVI Gustaf on Friday, giving her nine months to prepare for Sweden’s 2022 general election. But her first challenge will come much sooner than that.

The Swedish parliament is set to vote on the budget for next year at 4pm today. Centre Party leader Annie Lööf said on Wednesday morning that her party would not back the government proposal, which means that the proposal does not enjoy enough support to be voted through.

This in turn means that the right-wing’s opposition budget – negotiated jointly by the conservative Moderates and Christian Democrats and the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats – is likely to pass, meaning Andersson may have to govern on that budget.

It will be the first time Sweden is run on a budget negotiated by a far-right party.

Before announcing his departure as prime minister and leader of the Social Democrats, Löfven had already threatened to resign if the opposition’s budget passed, but now-outgoing Finance Minister Andersson has so far not made such a commitment.

Gender-equal Sweden has never before had a woman as prime minister. Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland have all seen women lead their governments.

Andersson has previously outlined three political priorities going forward.

After being confirmed as the Social Democrats’ new leader, she said she wanted to “take back democratic control of schools, healthcare and elderly care”, and move away from welfare sector privatisation.

She also said she aimed to make Sweden a worldwide role model in climate transition.

And she vowed to end segregation, as well as the shootings and bombings that have plagued the country in recent years – usually due to gangs settling scores or battling over the drug market – mainly affecting disadvantaged neighbourhoods with large immigrant populations.


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