Sweden PM resigns on first day in the job

World

Sweden’s first female prime minister has resigned after less than 12 hours in the job following the collapse of the coalition her party had formed.

Social Democrat Magdalena Andersson stepped down in the wake of the Green Party’s decision to quit their two-party coalition due to parliament’s rejection of the budget bill devised by the alliance.

She said she had told the speaker of parliament she hoped to be appointed prime minister again as the head of a single-party government, a prospect that appeared fairly likely given support from other parties.

“I have asked the speaker to be relieved of my duties as prime minister,” Ms Andersson told a news conference.

“I am ready to be prime minister in a single-party, Social Democrat government.”

The Green Party said it would support her in any new confirmation vote in parliament, while the Centre Party promised to abstain, which effectively amounts to the same as backing her candidacy.

The Left Party has also said it would support her.

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Although these parties were unable to agree a budget, they are united in the goal of keeping the Sweden Democrats, a populist, anti-immigration party, from having a role in government.

Sri Lanka became the first country to have a female leader when Sirimavo Bandaranaike was elected in 1960. Pic: AP
Image:
Sri Lanka became the first country to have a female leader when Sirimavo Bandaranaike was elected in 1960. Pic: AP

“The Centre Party will open the door for her (Ms Andersson) to be prime minister,” its leader, Annie Loof, said on Twitter.

“We will make sure, again, that Sweden can have a government that is not dependent on the Sweden Democrats.”

The opposition right-wing Moderates and Christian Democrats are backed by the Sweden Democrats, but cannot secure a majority in parliament.

The fact that it has taken this long for Sweden to get a woman prime minister is considered embarrassing for many in a country that introduced universal suffrage 100 years ago and has long championed gender equality.

Neighbours Norway elected their first woman leader 40 years ago, while Sri Lanka was the first country in the world to do so in 1960.

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