Sweden elects first female PM for second time after shock resignation

Sweden elects first female PM for second time after shock resignation
Magdalena Andersson resigned hours after her initial appointment due to a lost vote

Magdalena Andersson has been elected as Sweden’s first female prime minister for the second time in a week, following her shock resgination just hours after she was originally appointed.

The former finance minister won a similar vote last week but threw in the towel only hours later after the Green Party – a coalition partner – abandoned the government over a lost budget vote.

Andersson will now form a minority government consisting only of her own party, the Social Democrats, which hold 100 seats in the 349-seat parliament and will have to rely on support from several other parties to implement policy.

Not since 1979 has a government commanded so little direct support in parliament.

“Like all minority governments, we will seek co-operation with other parties in parliament, and I see good opportunities to do so,” Andersson told a news conference.

“The Social Democrats have the biggest party group in parliament by a wide margin. We also have a long tradition of cooperation with others and stand ready to do what is needed to lead Sweden forward.”

Complicating the picture, Andersson will have to govern on a budget in part formulated by three opposition parties, including the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, whose gains over the past decade lie at heart of Sweden‘s political turmoil.

Her tenuous hold on power is due to a deadlocked parliament where neither the centre-left nor centre-right can form a majority on their own.

Andersson served as prime minister for seven hours before stepping down last week after the Greens left her two-party coalition.

Their move followed the rejection of her government’s budget proposal in favor of one presented by opposition parties including the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats, who are rooted in a neo-Nazi movement.

Andersson’s appointment as prime minister marks 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.

In a speech to parliament, Center Party leader Annie Loof said a female prime minister “means a lot to many girls and women, to see this glass roof shattered.

AP / Reuters