Wednesday 12/8/21
SWEDEN

New Swedish prime minister steps down hours after taking job

Andersson said she does not want to lead a government whose legitimacy is questioned
Stockholm-Sweden-by-Pixabay.
A view of Stockholm. Photo: Pixabay.

Hours after becoming Sweden's first female prime minister, Magdalena Andersson has stepped down, after losing the Green party's support in her coalition.

The Social Democrat said on Wednesday that she had asked parliamentary speaker Andreas Norlen to dismiss her, but that she was aiming to take the post again.

Norlen approved the request and said that he would now contact the party leaders to discuss the situation and would inform about the further procedure on Thursday afternoon.

The Greens decided to leave the coalition after the parliament on Wednesday adopted an alternative budget proposal by the opposition.

This was the first time that the parliament approved a budget negotiated "with an extreme far-right party," Per Bolund, one of the two party leaders, told a news conference, referring to the populist Sweden Democrats.

According to his co-chair, Marta Stenevi, the party is united that it cannot sit in a government that is forced to follow policies negotiated with the Sweden Democrats. "We have to be able to face our voters," she said.

The opposition's budget is based on the proposals of the previous government, but almost a quarter of the money earmarked for reforms is to be redistributed next year, among other things into a reduction in petrol tax.

It was an alternative to the budget presented by Andersson, which was not backed by the liberal Centre Party. They approved Andersson as prime minister, but not her budget proposal.

Elected to succeed Lofven

Early on Wednesday, Andersson was elected by parliament to become prime minister and succeed Stefan Lofven, who formally announced his resignation earlier this month after seven years in office.

During the parliamentary vote, 174 lawmakers voted against Andersson - 175 no votes in the 349-seat parliament would have been necessary to block her path to the office of head of government.

In Sweden, it is common for a coalition government to resign when one party leaves the coalition.

Andersson said she does not want to lead a government whose legitimacy is questioned. The 54-year-old now hopes to return with an all-Social Democratic minority government. She pointed out that the Greens still wanted to support her as prime minister.

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