Sweden’s first female prime minister resigns hours after appointment

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By Dominic Chopping


STOCKHOLM – Sweden’s first female prime minister resigned on Wednesday evening, just hours after her appointment, as her coalition government collapsed.

Magdalena Andersson was named prime minister after a parliamentary vote on Wednesday, but saw her budget bill fail in a vote later today. This means that the budget proposed by the opposition parties has been approved instead, an opposition that includes the Swedish Populist Democrats.

In response, Ms Andersson’s main coalition partner, the Green Party, left the government.

“The government voted for a budget that was negotiated by a far-right party,” Green Party spokesman Per Bolund said at a press conference after the vote.

“The task of the Greens in politics is not to implement a budget negotiated by the Swedish Democrats,” he added.

Despite the upheaval, Ms Andersson said she still wanted to be prime minister and the Green Party said it would support her in any future votes.

“According to practice, a coalition government should resign if a party chooses to leave the government,” Ms. Andersson said after her resignation.

“I also don’t want to lead a government where there may be reasons to question its legitimacy,” she said.

The speaker of parliament will now begin talks with the leaders of all parties represented in parliament to discuss the next step.

Ms Andersson was the country’s finance minister and recently became leader of the Social Democratic Party, succeeding Stefan Lofven, who resigned earlier this month.

According to Swedish rules, Ms Andersson had to avoid a majority of parliamentarians voting against her to succeed in becoming prime minister, and she succeeded with the narrowest margins after a last-minute deal with the Left Party ensured their support during the vote. Of the 349 deputies, 174 voted against it. If 175 had voted against Ms Andersson, she would have lost the vote.

Mr Lofven, who had led the Social Democratic Party since 2012 and became Prime Minister in 2014 to lead a center-left coalition, said over the summer that he would both step down as party leader and prime minister to give his successor enough time to campaign before next year’s general election.


Write to Dominic Chopping at dominic.chopping@wsj.com

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