World

Swedish parliament approves first female prime minister

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK – The Swedish parliament on Wednesday approved Magdalena Andersson as the country’s first female prime minister, referring to the finance minister, who recently became the new leader of the Social Democrats. .

Andersson is tapped to replace Stefan Lofven as party leader and prime minister, roles he gave up earlier this year.

The development marks an important milestone for Sweden, which for decades was considered one of Europe’s most progressive countries in terms of gender relations, yet has yet to have a single woman hold the position. leading politics. Lofven’s government has described itself as a “feminist”, placing equality between women and men at the heart of national and international affairs.

In a speech to parliament, Amineh Kakabaveh, an independent lawmaker pro-Andersson, noted that Sweden is currently celebrating the 100th anniversary of its decision to introduce universal and equal suffrage in the Scandinavian country.

“If women are only allowed to vote but are never elected to the highest office, then democracy will be incomplete,” said Kakabaveh, a Kurdish native of Iran.

“There is something symbolic in this decision,” she added.

In the 349-seat Riksdag, 117 lawmakers voted in favor of Andersson, 174 rejected her while 57 abstained and one lawmaker was absent.

In total, the opposition cast 174 votes against Andersson but under the Swedish Constitution prime ministers can be appointed and run as long as a parliamentary majority – a minimum of 175 lawmakers – is not against them.

Lofven has led the Swedish government in a caretaker capacity until a new government is formed, scheduled for Friday. Andersson is likely to form a two-party, minority government with her Social Democrats and Green Party members.

Andersson, 54, has managed to secure the backing of two smaller parties that back Sweden’s former centre-left, minority government led by Lofven – the Left Party and the Center Party. Both abstained from Andersson.

After days of negotiations, Andersson and the Left Party reached an agreement to win the support of the latter party. The deal focuses on pensions and they add up to 1,000 kronor ($111) to around 700,000 low-income pensioners.

Sweden’s next general election is scheduled for September 11.

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