Just hours after being installed as Swedenfirst woman ever Prime Minister, Magdalena Andersson resigned dramatically on Wednesday night after suffering a budget defeat in the Riksdag and then losing her coalition partner in two-party minority government.
Andersson said that a decision by the Green Party to leave the two-party coalition had forced her to resign, but added that she had told the Speaker that she hoped to be appointed Prime Minister again as head of a one-party government.
The Green Party said they would leave the government after the coalition’s budget bill was rejected by parliament.
– For me, it is about respect, but I also do not want to lead a government where there may be reason to question its legitimacy, Andersson said at a press conference.
She added: “A coalition government should resign if a party chooses to leave the government. Although the parliamentary situation is unchanged, it needs to be tried again.”
Her departure was a shocking turnaround during a dramatic and historic day in Swedish politics. A few hours earlier, the Swedish Parliament had approved Andersson as the country’s first female leader after she recently became head of the ruling Social Democratic Party.
When the budget vote approached, Andersson had earlier on Wednesday said that she would not resign if she lost, but changed later in the day.
“I am of the opinion that [the opposition budget] as a whole is something I can live with, ”Andersson told reporters at a press conference.
Her appointment was initially a remarkable milestone for Sweden, which has long been seen as one of Europe’s most progressive countries in terms of gender equality but which has not yet had a woman on the top political post.
In a speech to parliament, Amineh Kakabaveh, an independent member who had supported Andersson, stated 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,” Kakabaveh said. “There is something symbolic in this decision.”
Andersson had tried to secure the support of two other smaller parties that had supported Sweden’s previous center-right and minority government – the Left Party and the Center Party.
The Speaker of the Riksdag will now decide on the next step in the process of forming a new government.