Sweden’s first female prime minister, the Social Democrat Magdalena Andersson, has resigned less than 12 hours into the job when her coalition collapsed, plunging the country into further political uncertainty.
The 54-year-old economist who has served as finance minister for the past seven years said she hoped to be elected to the position again soon as the head of a minority government made up of only the Social Democrats.
‘I don’t want to lead a government whose legitimacy will be questioned.’
Just hours earlier, parliament had elected Andersson after she clinched a last-minute deal with the Left Party to raise pensions in exchange for its crucial backing in Wednesday’s vote in parliament.
Andersson said a decision by the Green party, the junior party in the coalition, to quit had forced her to resign.
The Green party said it would leave government after the coalition’s budget bill was rejected by parliament.
“I have asked the speaker to be relieved of my duties as prime minister,” Andersson told a news conference. “I am ready to be prime minister in a single-party, Social Democrat government.”
The prospects of that happening appeared fairly strong given support from other parties.
The speaker, Andreas Norlén, said he had accepted Andersson’s resignation and would contact party leaders before deciding on Thursday how to proceed.
But the small Centre Party then withdrew its support for Andersson’s budget, due to the concessions made to the Left, leaving her budget with insufficient votes to pass in parliament.
Lawmakers instead adopted an alternative budget presented by the opposition conservative Moderates, Christian Democrats and far-right Sweden Democrats.
Andersson grudgingly said she would still be able to govern with that budget.
But in an even heavier and surprise blow, Greens leader Per Bolund said his party could not tolerate the opposition’s ‘historic budget, drafted for the first time with the far-right’, and quit the government.
Among other things, it could not accept the opposition’s planned tax cut on petrol, which it said would lead to higher emissions.