“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 informed Parliament Speaker Anderas Norlen that she was still interested in leading a one-party Social Democratic government.
She said “a coalition government should resign if a party chooses to leave the government. Despite the fact that the parliamentary situation is unchanged, it must be tried again ”.
This is a last minute update. An earlier version of the story can be found below.
Sweden’s parliament on Wednesday approved Magdalena Andersson as the country’s first female prime minister, appealing to the finance minister who recently became the new leader of the Social Democratic Party.
Andersson was chosen to replace Stefan Lofven as party leader and prime minister, duties he stepped down earlier this year.
This development marked a milestone for Sweden, considered for decades to be one of the most progressive countries in Europe in terms of gender relations, but which did not yet have a woman in top political office. The Lofven government describes itself as feminist, putting equality between women and men at the heart of national and international work.
“I was elected the first female Prime Minister of Sweden and I know what that means for the girls of our country,” said Andersson.
In a speech to parliament, Amineh Kakabaveh, an independent lawmaker who supported Andersson, noted that Sweden is currently celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 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, of Iranian Kurdish origin.
“There is something symbolic about this decision,” she added. “Feminism still wants girls and women to be complete people who have the same opportunities as men and boys. “
Andersson received a standing ovation and a bouquet of red roses as she accepted her nomination and said she was “really moved” by what Kakabaveh said. “She identified exactly what I was thinking. “
In the 349-seat Riksdag, 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.
Lofven has led the Swedish government on an interim basis until a new government is formed, which is expected on Friday. Andersson will likely form a two-party minority government with his Social Democrats and the Green Party.
Andersson, 54, sought support from the two small parties that backed Sweden’s previous center-left minority government led by Lofven – the Left Party and the Center Party. Both abstained from voting against Andersson.
After days of talks, Andersson and the Left Party reached an agreement to win the latter’s support. The deal focused on pensions, which means a supplement of up to Kroner 1,000 ($ 141) for around 700,000 low-income retirees.
Andersson faces significant challenges.
Gang violence and shootings ruin life in many large cities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed gaps in the much-vaunted welfare state and the government must accelerate the transition to a green economy if it is to meet its climate change targets.
The next general elections in Sweden are scheduled for September 11.