Thursday, February 29, 2024

Prime for only eight hours

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Cole Hanson
Cole Hanson
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Less than eight hours after she was elected by parliament, new Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson was forced to resign on Wednesday after a nightmare that saw her budget defeat and the departure of her environmental allies from the government.

There is a constitutional practice whereby a coalition government resigns when a party leaves it. “I don’t want to lead a government whose legitimacy is questionable,” the Social Democrat leader told a news conference.

On the evening of this failed ruling, Anderson said she hoped to be re-elected to office in a subsequent vote, with a 100% democratic socialist government this time.

Elected for a few hours as the first woman to this position after several days of already meticulous negotiations, she was the victim of a painful game of political dominoes.

France Press agency

On Tuesday evening, the 54-year-old economist, who until now was the finance minister of her predecessor Stefan Lofven, got the support needed to seize power, thanks to a last-minute deal with the Left Party to increase small pensions.

But another major party, the Center Party, unhappy with the concessions made to the left wing, withdrew its support for the budget, without hampering its rise to power.

The result: the same parliament that elected her in the morning put its budget into a minority in the afternoon, and adopted the budget of the right-wing opposition, which was prepared for the first time with the far-right Democratic Sweden (SD).

“Magda” Anderson said he could handle it. But for his environmental ally, the only other party in the minority government coalition, it was unacceptable to be governed by a financial law bearing the character of the far right.

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Soon after the budget was defeated, the Environmental Party announced its departure from government, forcing Mrs. Anderson to return her barely earned loincloth.

“It is not the job of the Green Party to implement the budget negotiated by the SD. Our leadership has been unanimous in saying that we cannot be in a government with a budget prepared by the SD,” justified the party’s spokesperson, Marta Steneve.

House Speaker Andreas Norlin said he accepts his resignation and will now contact party leaders before making a decision on how to proceed on Thursday.

Constitutionally, Anderson did not have time to present her government to the king – which was scheduled for Friday – she could not officially replace Stefan Lofven as prime minister.

The Queen for one day, however, may have another chance.

Analysts said the Swedish parliament’s tough political balances, which resulted in a four-month delay in government formation after the last elections in 2018, do not allow for an alternative to a social democratic prime minister.

Stefan Lofven, who was ousted by an unprecedented vote of no-confidence in June, returned in July.

After seven years in power, and due to this political crisis, he announced in August that he would resign in November, less than a year after legislative elections in September 2022.

Known for her straightforward style that earned her the nickname “The Bulldozer”, Magdalena Anderson actually succeeded her at the helm of the Social Democratic Party at the beginning of November.

Despite being an open advocate for gender equality, Sweden has not yet had a female prime minister, unlike all the other Nordic countries.

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Going to become the first woman to take power after 33 men since 1876, Mrs. Anderson greeted in the morning a “special day”.

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