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Sweden's Magdalena Andersson gets 2nd chance at being PM

November 29, 2021

Andersson gave up her post last week just hours after lawmakers named her Sweden's first female head of government. She now faces new obstacles in the country’s fragmented parliament.

Andersson looks up while going up on an escalator
Andersson's Social Democrats hold only 100 seats in the 349-seat parliamentImage: Jessica Gow/TT/picture alliance

Magdalena Andersson won her second parliamentary vote to become the country's prime minister on Monday, just days after gaining the title and then stepping down.

"It feels good and I am eager to start," Andersson said after the Monday vote.

The former finance minister made history when she was elected Sweden's first female head of government on Wednesday, November 24. However, she was forced to resign hours later, as a controversial budget deal caused the coalition between her Social Democrats and the country's Green party to collapse.

Under Swedish law, a prime minister does not need to secure a majority in the parliament. All that is required is to not have a majority vote against them. The Monday vote saw Andersson narrowly pass the threshold with 101 votes in favor, 75 abstentions, and 173 voting against her.

What happened last week?

Andersson is set to lead a single-party minority government following the break with the Greens.

She was left without enough votes to pass the budget when the small Center Party pulled their support due to changes made to secure votes from the Left. Then, instead of a budget proposed by Andersson's coalition, lawmakers endorsed an alternative budget by opposition parties including far-right Sweden Democrats. While Andersson was open to governing with that budget, the Greens refused to accept it due to the Sweden Democrats' involvement. This forced the 54-year-old to resign.

Why is the parliament so divided?

Andersson is set to formally take office on Tuesday following an audience with Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustav.

Magdalena Andersson standing in front of two men on an escalator
Sweden is the last Nordic country to have a female prime ministerImage: Jessica Gow/TT/picture alliance

She is taking over from Stefan Lofven, also a Social Democrat, who officially resigned earlier this month after losing a parliamentary vote of confidence. His minority government had relied on the Left to secure enough votes, but the deal fell through over Lofven's plans to loosen rent controls. Lofven was in office for seven years.

The 2018 general election left the parliament fragmented, with neither center-left nor center-right forces able to secure a majority. The Social Democrats control 100 seats in the 349-member assembly. The center-right Moderate Party has 70 seats, just eight more than the far-right Sweden Democrats. Political opponents decry the populist group over its neo-Nazi roots, although the party denies holding extreme views.

Sweden is set to hold a new election in September, 2022.