Sat. Nov 27th, 2021

Stefan Lofven resigns in a long-planned move with Magdalena Andersson on course to become the country’s first female prime minister.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven resigned on Wednesday, paving the way for the country, a champion of gender equality, to finally have a female prime minister.

Magdalena Andersson, the current finance minister, was elected last week to replace Lofven as head of the Social Democratic Party, which put her on course to become prime minister if she wins a vote in parliament expected next week. .

Lofven, a former welder and trade union negotiator, has been leading a minority coalition with the Greens since 2014 and said earlier this year he would step down ahead of the next general election, which takes place in September 2022.

“We have an election in barely a year and it is important that we have a quick handover,” Lofven, who said in August he would resign this month, told reporters. “I think voters want it to go smoothly.”

The installation of the first woman as prime minister sounds almost anachronistic in a country that has long been a proponent of gender equality.

All other Nordic countries – Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland – have seen women lead their governments.

The change in the Social Democrats’ leadership comes as the party moves near its lowest approval ratings ever.

It remains unclear whether Andersson has enough support to pass a confirmation vote in parliament, which could happen next week.

She does not need a 349-seat majority in parliament to support her as prime minister. But she must avoid a majority vote against her.

The Center Party on Wednesday agreed not to block Andersson’s candidacy in exchange for easier building regulations and changes to forestry ownership laws.

But Andersson will still need at least passive support from the previously communist Left Party, whose leader, Nooshi Dadgostar, has demanded a say in policy.

If Andersson promises this, she runs the risk of losing the support of the Center Party, which has center – right roots and wants to exclude the Left from any influence over the government.

If parliament rejects Andersson, Ulf Kristersson, leader of the Moderate Party, will probably be given a chance. He is backed by the populist, anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, a party that wants to prevent both the Center and the Left from influencing policy.

“The Left Party needs to realize that there is going to be a new government and the question is which one do they want?” Lofven said.

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