Copenhagen, Denmark – Hours after being named Sweden’s first female prime minister, Magdalena Andersson resigned on Wednesday after suffering a budget defeat in parliament and her coalition partner, the Greens, left the two-party minority government. The government’s own budget proposal was rejected in favor of an opposition proposal that includes right-wing populist Swedish Democrats.
The Swedish Democrats, the country’s third-largest party, have roots in a national neo-Nazi movement, but have since disowned fascism.
The vote was 154-143 in favor of the opposition budget proposal.
Andersson, leader of the Social Democratic Party, decided it was best to step down more than seven hours after making history by becoming the first woman to rule the country.
“For me it’s about respect, but I also don’t want to run a government where there may be reasons to question its legitimacy,” Andersson said at a press conference.
Andersson, who was finance minister before briefly becoming prime minister, informed Speaker of Parliament Andreas Norlen that she was still interested in leading a one-party Social Democratic government.
Norlen, speaker of the 349-seat Swedish parliament, said he would contact the eight Swedish party leaders “to discuss the situation”. Thursday, he will announce the route to follow.
Andersson said “A coalition government should step down if a party chooses to leave the government. Despite the fact that the parliamentary situation is unchanged, it must be tried again ”.
Even though the Green Party has withdrawn its support for his government, it has said it is ready to back Andersson in a new vote to call for a prime minister. But the Greens said it was in the party’s best interest to support him after the budget defeat in parliament.
Andersson’s appointment as Prime Minister marked a milestone for Sweden, considered for decades one of the most progressive countries in Europe in terms of gender relations, but which had yet to of woman in the highest political offices.
Andersson had been chosen to replace Stefan Lofven as party leader and prime minister, duties he stepped down earlier this year.
Earlier today, 117 lawmakers voted yes to Andersson, 174 rejected his nomination while 57 abstained and one lawmaker was absent. Under the Swedish constitution, prime ministers can be appointed and govern as long as a parliamentary majority – a minimum of 175 lawmakers – does not object.
The next general elections in Sweden are scheduled for September 11.