It looked like a new era was dawning in Sweden on Wednesday when Magdalena Andersson, the leader of the Social Democratic Party, became the country’s first female prime minister.
But his historic tenure lasted less than a day.
She resigned Thursday, the day after a painful budget defeat in parliament. She had just formed a two-party minority government with the Green Party. But after their budget was rejected in favor of a proposed opposition bill, which included the far-right Swedish Democrats, the Green Party left the coalition in frustration, leaving Ms. Andersson without a partner.
“According to constitutional practice, a coalition government should resign if a party leaves the government,” Ms. Andersson said in a statement shared on her Facebook page. “For me it’s about respect, but I also don’t want to run a government where there may be reasons to question its legitimacy.” She added that she had met the speaker and asked to be removed from her post.
The resignation of Ms Andersson has plunged Sweden into political uncertainty. The country’s political landscape was already frayed by fragile coalition governments and a vote of no confidence in June against former Prime Minister Stefan Lofven. Ms Andersson subsequently succeeded Mr Lofven as head of the Social Democrats.
Sweden, at one point, accepted more refugees per capita than any other European country. But its progressive image has gradually been eroded by the settled right-wing populist sentiment, led by the Swedish Democratic Party. The political spectrum has shifted to the right with more and more anti-immigrant and anti-European voices.
Per Bolund, a spokesperson for the Green Party, said his faction left government in frustration because parliament approved an opposition-brokered state budget, which included a far-right party – the Swedish Democrats.
Until a new government is elected, the current government will remain in place in the interim. Ms Andersson, who had been Sweden’s finance minister since 2014, said she was always ready to serve as prime minister, but only in a one-party government.