Incumbent Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson was elected Social Democrat leader Stefan Lofven last week and is on her way to becoming prime minister if she wins a parliamentary vote next week.
Stockholm: Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven resigned on Wednesday, paving the way for a gender-equitable country to finally have a female prime minister.
Incumbent Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson was elected Social Democrat leader last week to replace Lofven, and is on her way to becoming prime minister if she wins next week’s parliamentary vote.
Lofven has announced that he will step down in November to give enough time to prepare for the September 2022 general election.
The Social Democrats need the support of the Green Party coalition partners and the Left and Central parties to elect a new prime minister.
On Wednesday, the Central Party announced its support for Anderson, and the Left is expected to do the same.
Lofven, who will serve as caretaker prime minister until his replacement, said he hoped parliament would elect Andersson relatively well.
“The Swedish people want a speedy transition,” he told reporters after his resignation.
Appointing the first woman as Prime Minister seems almost an anachronism in a country that promotes gender equality.
Other Nordic countries, such as Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland, have seen women lead governments.
With less than a year to go before the election, the Social Democrats’ leadership changed as the party approached its lowest rating in history.
The right-wing opposition, led by the Conservative Moderates, has been hoping to get closer to the Swedish anti-immigration party in recent years and gain unofficial support.
Andersson’s top three –
Lofven, a 64-year-old welder and former union leader, came to power in 2014 and won the Social Democrats after eight years in opposition.
“Stefan Lofven has never been considered a visionary leader of the future. He was needed at a time when the party was in trouble, and he did his job,” Anders Sannerstedt, a professor of political science at Lund University, told AFP.
After being confirmed as the party’s new leader last week, former junior swimming champion Andersson has repeatedly described himself as a “pragmatic” politician, outlining three political priorities for the future.
“We want to regain democratic control over schools, health and the elderly and to abandon the privatization of the welfare sector,” he said.
He also said he wanted Sweden to be a role model for the world during climate change.
He has vowed to end the isolation, shootings and bombings that have plagued the country in recent years. This is often due to rival gangs scoring points or fighting organized crime in the drug market.
Violence mainly affects slums with large immigrant populations, but is more prevalent in other regions.
In 2020, the country of 10.3 million people had 366 shootings, killing 47 people, according to official statistics.
There were 107 bombings and 102 attempted explosions.
Crime and immigration are expected to be high on Sweden’s election next year.
Analyst Sannerstedt predicted a “very tough race.”
“If the Social Democrats want to win the election, they need to come up with new policy ideas,” he said.
But “Andersson is more of a technocratic bureaucrat than a visionary creative leader,” he said.
“I’ve worked closely with Lofvent for seven years. I hope there is no big change,” he said.