It seemed like a new era was dawning in Sweden on Wednesday when Magdalena Andersson, leader of the Social Democratic Party, became the country’s first female prime minister to succeed.
But its historical period lasted less than a day.
She resigned on Thursday, a day after a painful budget defeat in parliament. She has just formed a bipartisan minority government with the Green Party. But after their budget was rejected in favor of a budget proposed by the opposition, which included the far-right Swedish Democratic Party, the Greens withdrew from the coalition out of frustration, leaving center-left Andersson without a partner.
“According to constitutional practice, the coalition government must resign if one party leaves the government,” Ms Andersson said in a statement posted on her Facebook page. “For me, it’s about respect, but I also don’t want to lead a government if there is reason to doubt its legitimacy.” She added that she met with the speaker and asked to be fired from her new position.
Ms Andersson’s resignation has plunged Sweden into political uncertainty. The country’s political landscape has already been tainted by fragile coalition governments and a vote of no confidence in former Prime Minister Stefan Lofven in June. Ms Andersson later replaced Mr Lofven as leader of the Social Democrats.
At one point, Sweden hosted more refugees per capita than any other European country. But his progressive image was gradually eroded by extreme right-wing populist sentiments led by the Swedish Democratic Party. The political spectrum has shifted to the right with an increase in anti-immigrant and anti-European voices.
Green Party spokesman Per Bolund said his faction became disillusioned with the government because parliament approved a state budget agreed by the opposition, which included the right-wing extremist party.
Until a new government is elected, the current one will remain. Ms Andersson, who has served as Sweden’s finance minister since 2014, said she is still ready to be prime minister, but only in a one-party government.