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Sweden's first-ever female prime minister resigns just hours after her appointment

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A screen grab captured from a video shows Magdalena Andersson, the first female prime minister in Sweden speaking during a press conference in Stockholm, Sweden on November 24, 2021. (Photo by Swedish Parliament/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Swedish Parliament | Handout | Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Sweden's first-ever female prime minister, Social Democrat Magdalena Andersson, has resigned just hours after being appointed, deepening political uncertainty.

Andersson said Wednesday that she was forced to resign after her budget bill failed and the Green Party quit their two-party coalition government. She had been announced as leader earlier in the day to a standing ovation by some sectors of the parliament.

Instead, lawmakers in the Riksdag voted in favor of a budget tabled by the opposition that includes the anti-immigration right-wing party of the Sweden Democrats.

Andersson told reporters she hoped to be reappointed prime minister as the head of a single-party government.

"I have asked the speaker to be relieved of my duties as prime minister," Andersson told a media conference. "I am ready to be prime minister in a single-party, Social Democrat government."

The Green Party and the socialist Left Party have both said they are prepared to support the re-appointment of Andersson, who previously served as finance minister for seven years under her predecessor Stefan Lofven.

Sweden's Center Party, meanwhile, has said it would abstain, which effectively paves the way for Andersson to get the top job once again.

The parties had been unable to approve a budget bill in a fragmented political landscape, but they are seen to be united in the aim of preventing the Sweden Democrats from having a role in government.

"Magdalena Andersson stands by her word to deliver on the agreement we have concluded and the Center Party will release her as Prime Minister," Annie Loof, leader of the country's Center Party, said on Wednesday via Twitter.

"We are now making sure, once again, that Sweden can have a government that is not dependent on [the Sweden Democrats]," she added.

Parliamentary speaker Andreas Nolen is expected to announce the next steps to form a new government on Thursday.

A political milestone

Andersson's appointment at the head of a minority coalition government came after a last-minute deal with the opposition Left Party.

Under Sweden's Constitution, prime ministers can govern if they have the backing of a parliamentary majority — which means a minimum of 175 lawmakers in the 349-member Riksdag.

The 54-year-old secured her role as prime minister after 117 members of parliament supported her candidacy, with a further 59 abstentions.

A total of 179 members of parliament had voted against her, meaning Andersson became the country's first-ever female prime minister by just a single vote.

It represented a milestone in Sweden, viewed for decades as one of Europe's most progressive countries on gender relations despite being the only Nordic state not to have had a woman in the role of prime minister.

Andersson had been picked as the Social Democrat's leader after Lofven relinquished his roles as party leader and prime minister earlier this year.

Sweden's next general election is scheduled for Sept. 11 next year.

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