The rise to power of Magdalena Andersson It has been nothing short of a political soap opera, and the season finale may still be yet to come.
In just one week, the Swedish Parliament elected her as the first woman to become prime minister of the country, saw her resign seven hours later amid the political turmoil and motioned for her to return to office after a second vote.
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Why it all unfolded and what could happen next has highlighted the complexities posed by an eight-party coalition in a divided nation.
Why did Sweden need a new head of government?
It all started with the Stefan Lofven’s retirement, who had been at the helm of a social democratic-green coalition government since 2014. The first vote to choose his successor or successor was last Wednesday.
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Magdalena Andersson had already replaced him as leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party at his conference in early November.
But to replace him at the head of the government he needed the approval of Parliament.
With the green light from it, she became the first female Prime Minister of Sweden, a historic event that happened exactly 100 years after women won the right to vote in the country.
What happened in that first vote?
Under the Swedish political system, Andersson did not need the favorable vote of the majority of deputies, but to avoid the majority to vote against.
However, in a Parliament so fragmentedIt was seen that it would be a difficult decision.
The governing coalition led by the Social Democrats is weak and depends on the support of other formations.
The vote took place after 11 hours of negotiation with the Left Party and previous conversations with the Center Party, a center-right formation. They both agreed to abstain and Sweden thus became the last Nordic country to elect a woman as prime minister.
But that did not commit Parliament to supporting her in a crucial budget vote later that afternoon. Instead, the Center Party helped pass an alternative proposal from three right-wing parties, including the Democrats of Sweden, a formation with a strong anti-immigrant discourse.
Given this, the Green Party resigned from the coalition government, arguing that he did not want to participate in a budget negotiated by the nationalists.
At the same time, Andersson asked to resign as prime minister, claiming that she did not want to lead a government “whose legitimacy will be questioned.”
“Who runs Sweden?”
The key question on the lips of many Swedes came from a foreign correspondent working for the Finnish public broadcaster YLE.
“Excuse me … who is leading Sweden at the moment?” Lucas Dahlstrom uttered, prompting laughter from other journalists and a clip that went viral.
Andersson explained that he had not technically started his work, so the answer was an interim government led by Stefan Lofven.
Is this kind of chaos unusual?
Yes. So much so that commentators dubbed it “super Wednesday.”
Andersson’s resignation concluded the “most dramatic” day in Swedish political history.
Sweden has a long history of parliamentary stability and cooperative coalition policies, with the Social Democrats dominating for most of the last century.
“Minority governments are very common in Scandinavian countries,” explains Drude Dahlerup, Professor of Political Science at Stockholm University. “But the atmosphere in the swedish parliament at the moment is very hostile and neither party is really willing to give in. “
The drama stopped any celebration of the fact that Sweden had finally caught up with its Nordic neighbors in choosing its first female leader.
“It was supposed to be a very good day for Sweden,” adds Professor Dahlerup. “But it was chaotic and unpredictable.”
How did you get the job back?
By Monday, the Speaker of Parliament had given deputies another chance to approve or reject Magdalena Andersson as head of a one-party government.
As none of them had changed position and none of the opposition parties had sufficient support to propose an alternative government, she was re-elected.
So now his Swedish Social Democratic Party will rule for only the first time in 15 years.
Andersson has promised to boost social spending and limit the privatization of schools, healthcare and nursing homes, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat crime and segregation in Sweden.
What do we know about her?
He is 54 years old and has a broad career in politics. It is known for speaking up and being a tough negotiator. She was Finance Minister during the Stefan Lofven government since 2014.
Before becoming an MP, she was a junior swimming champion, worked as a political advisor and held a high-level position at the Swedish Tax Agency.
He studied at Harvard University and the Stockholm School of Economics, where she met her husband, Richard Friberg, who now works as a teacher there. They have two children and enjoy hiking and barbecuing together.
And what will happen now?
Andersson will still be obliged to follow the budget negotiated by three right-wing opposition parties, including the Democratic nationalists of Sweden.
As head of a one-party minority government, which has 100 of the 349 MPs in Parliament, she also you will find it difficult to push any future policies.
You have just over nine months to prove your worth, as the elections are scheduled for September 2022.
Polls suggest that voters have more confidence in her than in any other member of her line-up. But that good image so far has not brought additional support to the Swedish Social Democratic Party.
Another key variable is what happens to the nationalists.
So far, other right-wing opposition parties have refused to form a coalition with the Sweden Democrats., even though that would break the current political stalemate.
But two of them, the conservative Moderate Party and the Christian Democrats, seem increasingly open to negotiating with them..
“I can’t guess who is going to win the next election,” says Professor Dahlerup.
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