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Andersson elected as Swedish PM for second time

Published : Tuesday, 30 November, 2021 at 12:00 AM  Count : 291

STOCKHOLM, Nov 27: Sweden's parliament on Monday elected Magdalena Andersson as the country's prime minister, the first woman to hold the post, five days after her first bid lasted only hours.
The 54-year-old will succeed outgoing Prime Minister Stefan Lofven after a total of 101 members of parliament voted for her, while 75 abstained and 173 voted against.  Under Sweden's system, a prime ministerial candidate does not need the support of a majority in parliament, they just need to avoid a majority voting against them.
Last Wednesday, lawmakers elected Andersson as the country's first woman prime minister but she resigned just hours later -- before she even had a chance to formally take office -- after the Green Party quit her coalition government.
Despite being a nation that has long championed gender equality, Sweden has never before had a woman as prime minister. The parliamentary turbulence was unprecedented in politically stable Sweden, where the Social Democrats have dominated for almost a century.
The tumult began when Andersson secured a last-minute deal with the Left Party to raise pensions in exchange for its crucial backing to get her elected as prime minister. But that agreement did not sit well with the small Centre Party, which withdrew its support for Andersson's budget due to the concessions made to the Left.
That left Andersson's budget with insufficient votes to pass in parliament. Lawmakers instead adopted an alternative budget presented by the opposition conservative Moderates, Christian Democrats and far-right Sweden Democrats.
Andersson grudgingly said she would still be able to govern with that budget, but the Green Party said it could not accept a budget drafted by the far-right and quit the government.
That meant Andersson had to resign, as the basis on which she was appointed no longer existed.
- Weak government -
While some experts say the Social Democrats will now have an easier time as the sole party in power without having to make concessions to a coalition partner, others predict a bumpy road ahead.
Andersson's weak minority means she will have to seek support for her policies on both the left and the right.
Her most obvious cooperation partners are the Greens, the Centre and Left parties.
But she is also expected to court the right on issues blocked by the Greens during their time in government, including the expansion of Stockholms' Arlanda airport and a final depository for nuclear fuel waste.
Andersson has also singled out crime and immigration -- key voter concerns -- among her top priorities, issues where the Social Democrats are closer ideologically to the centre-right.     -AFP

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