Swedish parliament votes on head of government

Magdalena Andersson

The otherwise progressive Sweden has never had a female prime minister.

(Photo: via REUTERS)

Stockholm Sweden could have a prime minister for the first time in its history. The social democrat Magdalena Andersson is standing for a vote in parliament in Stockholm on Wednesday. It will be decided whether the 54-year-old will be elected head of government of the Scandinavian EU country. An agreement reached late with the Left Party should ensure that the previous finance minister in the Reichstag will receive the necessary backing.

Sweden has had more than 30 prime ministers in its modern history – all of them men. The previous head of government Stefan Löfven, who had been in office since 2014, submitted his resignation two weeks ago. He had previously left Andersson to chair the Social Democrats. Thereupon she received an exploratory mandate to form a government from the President of Parliament, Andreas Norlén. Norlén finally proposed her for the highest political office in the country on Monday – despite the fact that an agreement with the left was still being struggled with.

In order to be elected, it is enough for Andersson if there is no majority in the Reichstag against them. That sounds easier than it is: the previous red-green minority government only has a third of the 349 parliamentary seats. Andersson is therefore dependent on other parties at least abstaining.

The Center Party has promised this. Red-Green negotiated an agreement with the left for days – ultimately with success: on Tuesday evening there was an agreement to increase the lowest pensions – which also means that the party does not want to oppose Andersson. The party leader Nooshi Dadgostar confirmed on SVT. Together, the Red-Green, the center and the left, including a left-wing non-party, have a minimum majority of 175 seats.

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The current legislative period is one of the most unusual that the country with a population of 10 million has ever experienced: due to the rise of the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats, neither of the two classic political camps has a majority. The formation of a government after the 2018 parliamentary elections therefore took longer than ever: Löfven’s red-green minority government was only in place after 134 days.

First corona, then government crisis

But the problems didn’t stop there: First the corona pandemic hit in 2020, then Sweden plunged into a government crisis in the summer of 2021, as a result of which Löfven first resigned and was then re-elected by the Reichstag. Until his successor has been determined, the Social Democrat and his government will remain in office.

Parliament President Norlén has a total of four attempts to propose a Prime Minister. If everything fails, there will be a new election. The next scheduled parliamentary election is scheduled for late summer 2022 – and Löfven wanted to give Andersson the chance to position himself better by then.

More: Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven resigns

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