Politics

Sweden’s first female prime minister quits hours after being appointed


Magdalena Andersson resigned after the government’s own budget proposal was rejected in favour of one presented by the opposition that includes the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats.

Magdalena Andersson said she hoped to be elected to the premier position again soon.
Magdalena Andersson said she hoped to be elected to the premier position again soon.
(AFP)

Hours after being tapped as Sweden’s prime minister, Magdalena Andersson has resigned after suffering a budget defeat in parliament and coalition partner the Greens left the two-party minority government.

”For me, it is about respect, but I also do not want to lead a government where there may be grounds to question its legitimacy,” Andersson told a news conference on Wednesday.

“A coalition government should resign if a party chooses to leave the government. Despite the fact that the parliamentary situation is unchanged, it needs to be tried again,” she added.

Andersson said she hoped to be elected to the position again soon as the head of a minority government made up of only the Social Democrats.

The speaker of Sweden’s 349-seat parliament Andreas Norlen said he had received Andersson’s resignation and will contact the party leaders ”to discuss the situation,” the Swedish news agency TT said. On Thursday, he will announce the road ahead.

Andersson’s chances of being reappointed are good. The Green Party said it would support her in any new confirmation vote in parliament, while the Centre Party has promised to abstain, which in practice amounts to the same as backing her candidacy.

The Left Party has already said it would back her.

READ MORE:
Sweden elects Magdalena Andersson as nation’s first female premier

Andersson had been tapped to replace Stefan Lofven as party leader and prime minister, roles he relinquished earlier this year.
Andersson had been tapped to replace Stefan Lofven as party leader and prime minister, roles he relinquished earlier this year.
(Reuters)

‘Deep regret’

In a turbulent sequence of events, Andersson became the first woman elected to the post of prime minister in Sweden after clinching a last-minute deal with the Left Party to raise pensions in exchange for its backing in Wednesday’s vote.

But the small Centre Party withdrew its support for Andersson’s budget, due to the concessions made to the Left, leaving her budget with insufficient votes to pass in parliament.

Parliament instead adopted an alternative budget presented by the opposition conservative Moderates, Christian Democrats and far-right Sweden Democrats. 

“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.”

Earlier in the day, Andersson said she could “govern the country with the opposition’s budget.”

A milestone for Sweden

Andersson’s appointment as prime minister had 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.

Andersson had been tapped to replace Stefan Lofven as party leader and prime minister, roles he relinquished earlier this year.

Sweden’s next general election is scheduled for September 11.

READ MORE: No-confidence vote topples Swedish PM Lofven’s government

Source: TRTWorld and agencies



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