By Babajide Okeowo
Sweden’s Prime Minister-elect Magdalena Andersson has handed in her resignation hours after being appointed by parliament after her budget failed to pass and the junior Green Party quit the coalition government.
While her stint was unexpectedly brief, Andersson made history by becoming the first woman elected to the post of prime minister in Sweden — she was to formally take over on Friday.
The 54-year-old economist who has served as finance minister for the past seven years said she hoped to be elected to the position again soon as the head of a minority government made up of only the Social Democrats.
“There is a constitutional practice that a coalition government should resign when one party quits,” Andersson, a Social Democrat, told reporters.
“I don’t want to lead a government whose legitimacy will be questioned.”
Just hours earlier, parliament had elected Andersson after she clinched a last-minute deal with the Left Party to raise pensions in exchange for its crucial backing in Wednesday’s vote in parliament.
But the small Centre Party then withdrew its support for Andersson’s budget, due to the concessions made to the Left, leaving her 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 in an even heavier and surprise blow, Greens leader Per Bolund said his party could not tolerate the opposition’s “historic budget, drafted for the first time with the far-right”, and quit the government.
Among other things, it could not accept the opposition’s planned tax cut on petrol, which it said would lead to higher emissions.