Swedish parliament votes on head of government

Magdalena Andersson

The otherwise progressive Sweden has never had a female prime minister.

(Photo: via REUTERS)

Stockholm Social Democrat Magdalena Andersson becomes the first woman to become Swedish Prime Minister. The previous finance minister received the necessary support in a vote in the Swedish parliament on Wednesday to succeed the resigned Prime Minister Stefan Löfven.

It was enough for Andersson that no majority in the Stockholm Reichstag spoke out against her: 174 MPs voted against her – 175 votes against in the 349-seat parliament would have been necessary to block her way into the office of head of government.

The 54-year-old succeeds her party friend Stefan Löfven, who had ruled Sweden for the past seven years with a red-green minority government. It is expected that Andersson will present the new red-green government on Friday.

Löfven announced in August that he would retire first as head of the party and then as head of government. At the beginning of November, the 64-year-old passed the party chairmanship on to Andersson, before he submitted his resignation as prime minister to parliamentary speaker Andreas Norlén two weeks ago.

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With his withdrawal, Löfven wants to give his successor the opportunity to position himself better before the next parliamentary election in Sweden in late summer 2022.

Lots of problems for Andersson

Andersson also inherits several problems from him: On the one hand, the corona pandemic, in which Sweden chose a special route with comparatively looser measures, is still far from over in the far north of the EU. On the other hand, the Scandinavian country has been wrestling with rampant gang crime for a long time.

The majority structure in the Swedish Reichstag has also been extremely fragile since the rise of the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats: together, red-green only holds 116 of the 349 parliamentary seats, so the opposition could have blocked Andersson’s way with a clear majority. The Center Party and the Left, who had also waved Löfven through in such a vote in the summer, abstained. This just confirmed Andersson.

More: Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven resigns

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