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Sweden Politics November 2021

Sweden: Sweden elects first female prime minister, twice

On 24 November, the Swedish parliament voted for Magdalena Andersson to become the country’s new prime minister, replacing her outgoing colleague Stefan Löfven. However, just hours after the announcement, Andersson resigned after the Green Party, the junior coalition party to Andersson’s Social Democrats, quit the government after parliament rejected her budget in favor of one proposed by the opposition, which contains the far-right populists Sweden Democrats. With the Green Party unwilling to support a budget deemed to be moving too far from the left, Andersson resigned under Swedish convention.

Nevertheless, within a week Ms Andersson had been reappointed as PM in a narrow victory in parliament, this time without a coalition backer and willing to implement the opposition’s budget as a single-party minority government. While the Green Party has promised to support the fragile minority government, Andersson will need to seek cross-party backing in order to push through legislation, all the while seeking to solidify support ahead of September 2022’s general elections. The former finance minister has pledged to fund the welfare state and focus on law and order amid rising violent crime, all the while concentrating on the country’s target of reaching net zero emissions by 2045.

Despite the turmoil, Andersson’s election presents a milestone for Sweden, a country with a progressive reputation for gender equality, as she becomes the first female PM in the country’s history. As such, she joins Mette Fredriksson (Denmark), Katrín Jakobsdóttir (Iceland) and Sanna Marin (Finland) to ensure four of the five Nordics countries are currently headed by female prime ministers. Together, the Nordic leaders have seen their countries weather the pandemic generally well, with GDP contracting relatively mildly in 2020 and with respective economies having rebounded to pre-pandemic levels faster than many of their Euro area neighbors.

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