Swedes elect 1st female PM — for the 2nd time in a week
Copenhangen, Denmark — Magdalena Andersson, who last week was Sweden’s first female prime minister for a few hours before resigning because a budget defeat made a coalition partner quit, was elected again on Monday as the Nordic nation's head of government.
In a 101-173 vote with 75 abstentions, the 349-seat Riksdag elected Andersson, leader of the Social Democrats, as prime minister. She will form a one-party, minority government. Her Cabinet is expected to be named Tuesday. Formally, she will be installed following an audience with King Carl XVI Gustav, Sweden's figurehead monarch.
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.
Under the Swedish Constitution, prime ministers can be named and govern as long as a parliamentary majority — a minimum of 175 lawmakers — is not against them.
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. I am proud that (the Center Party) is involved and makes this possible.” Her party abstain from voting for or against Andersson, paving the way for her election.
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.
The right wing of the Riksdag is divided. Ulf Kristersson, head of the opposition Moderate party — Sweden’s second largest — repeatedly has said that a center-right government is not feasible because no mainstream party wants to cooperate with the third-largest party, the right-wing Sweden Democrats.
Andersson’s predecessor as prime minister, Stefan Lofven, is still leading the Swedish government in a caretaking capacity until a new one is formed.
Sweden’s next general election is scheduled for Sept. 11.