Carla La Tella

News

Wed, 24 Nov, 2021

Country’s first female PM quits on very first day

Country’s first female PM quits on very first day

Image: Getty

Hours after being voted in as Sweden’s first female prime minister, Magdalena Andersson has resigned.

Andersson’s ascension was 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 spot.

Parliament approved Andersson as prime minister after she recently became the new leader of the Social Democratic party, replacing Stefan Lofven as party leader and PM.

However, just a few hours later Andersson was announcing her equally shocking and sudden resignation 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.

Andersson has informed parliamentary Speaker Anderas Norlen that she is still interested in leading a Social Democratic one-party government.

She said that "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".

Norlen, the speaker of Sweden's 349-seat parliament, said he had received Andersson's resignation and would contact the party leaders "to discuss the situation".

He is expected to announce the road ahead today, Thursday 25th November.

The government's own budget proposal was rejected in favour of one presented by the opposition that includes the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats. Sweden's third-largest party is rooted in a neo-Nazi movement.

"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, when parliament voted to approve Andersson as prime minister, independent politician Amineh Kakabaveh, who supported Andersson, noted that Sweden is currently celebrating the 100th anniversary of a decision to introduce universal and equal suffrage in the Scandinavian country.

"If women are only allowed to vote but are never elected to the highest office, democracy is not complete," said Kakabaveh who is of Iranian Kurdish descent.

"There is something symbolic in this decision," she added. "Feminism is always about girls and women being complete people who have the same opportunities as men and boys."

"I was really moved by what she said. She pinpointed exactly what I thought," Andersson said after her appointment in parliament where she got a standing ovation and a bouquet of red roses.

"I have been elected Sweden's first female prime minister and know what it means for girls in our country," Andersson said.