Sweden’s first-ever female prime minister, Magdalena Andersson has dramatically resigned less than 12 hours after being installed over suffering a budget defeat in parliament and then losing her coalition partner in a two-party minority government.
Ms. Andersson said a decision by the Green Party to quit the two-party coalition had forced her to resign but added that she had told the parliamentary speaker she hoped to be appointed prime minister again as the head of a single-party government.
The Green Party quit after parliament rejected the coalition’s budget bill.
“I have asked the speaker to be relieved of my duties as prime minister,” Andersson told a news conference. “I am ready to be prime minister in a single-party, Social Democrat government.”
The Green Party said it would support her in any new confirmation vote in parliament, while the Centre Party promised to abstain, which in practice amounts to the same as backing her candidacy. The Left Party has also said it would back her.
The government’s own budget proposal was rejected in favour of one presented by the opposition that includes the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats. Sweden’s third largest party is rooted in a neo-Nazi movement. The vote was 154-143 in favour of the opposition’s budget proposal.
Speaker Andreas Norlen said he will contact Sweden’s eight party leaders “to discuss the situation”. On Thursday, he will announce the next steps for the 349-seat parliament.
Andersson said that “a coalition government should resign if a party chooses to leave the government. Despite the fact that the parliamentary situation is unchanged, it needs to be tried again.”
The approved budget was based on the government’s own proposal but of the 74 billion kronor ($8.2bn) that the government wanted to spend on reforms, just over 20 billion kronor ($2.2bn) will be redistributed next year, Swedish broadcaster SVT said.
The approved budget aims at reducing taxes, increasing salaries for police officers and providing more money to different sectors of Sweden’s judiciary system.
Andersson’s appointment as prime minister had marked a milestone for Sweden, viewed for decades as one of Europe’s most progressive countries when it comes to gender relations, but which had yet to have a woman in the top political post.
Andersson had been tapped to replace Stefan Lofven as party leader and prime minister, roles he relinquished earlier this year.
Earlier in the day, 117 politicians voted yes to Andersson, 174 rejected her appointment while 57 abstained and one politician was absent.
Under the Swedish Constitution, prime ministers can be named and govern as long as a parliamentary majority – a minimum of 175 lawmakers – is not against them.
Sweden’s next general election is scheduled for September 11.