Magdalena Andersson became Sweden’s first female prime minister after she was confirmed in a tumultuous sitting of parliament on Wednesday that did little to resolve the country’s political uncertainty.
Despite losing a vote of 117 to 174, Andersson was named Sweden’s new leader because a majority could not be brought together to stop her.
Within hours, the new Social Democrat prime minister will face her first crisis as she apparently does not have enough votes to implement her own center-left budget.
Instead, she will likely have to rule for the 10 months leading up to next September’s national election with a budget drawn up by right-wing populist Sweden Democrats and mainstream center-right Moderates and Christian Democrats.
Sweden, long a bastion of political stability where the Social Democrats came first in every election in more than a century, faces a period of political chaos due to the rapid rise of anti-immigration Sweden Democrats.
The Nationalist Party, which first entered parliament in 2010, broke up the traditional system of left and right blocs, and new uneasy constellations began to form.
Andersson became prime minister with the support of her governing coalition partners, the Greens, the former Communist Left Party and the nominal center-right Center Party.
But Annie Loof, leader of the Center Party, said she would not support Andersson’s budget, which was drawn up by the new prime minister in her old post as finance minister, due to an agreement reached with the Left on Tuesday for ‘ an extra budget next year.
The Center Party has consistently said it refuses to allow the former communists any influence.
Stefan Lofven, Andersson’s predecessor as both prime minister and social democratic leader, was forced to resign in June after becoming the first Swedish head of government to lose a vote of no confidence. In July, he received enough support in parliament to resume the post, just to announces his resignation a month later.
With their joint budget proposal and common immigration policy, the Sweden Democrats, Moderates and Christian Democrats paved the way for a potential new Conservative bloc ahead of next year’s elections.
The right-wing parties won voter support for their focus on crime and immigration, increasingly important issues in a country that has seen almost daily incidents of shootings, bombings or grenade attacks in suburbs with large numbers of foreign-born residents over the past few years.
Andersson promised to crack down on the gangs behind most of the crimes, but her efforts and those of Lofven’s formerly were condemned by the right as half-hearted and inadequate.
Sweden, which is proud to be a country that takes gender equality seriously with the current government confessing to pursuing a feminist foreign policy, is the last of the Nordic countries to get a female prime minister, 40 years after Norway became the first has.