How bright is Magdalena Andersson's future? (Update: Not bright at all)

🇸🇪 / Swedish prime minister / #54

Update 25 November 2021: Swedish PM Magdalena Andersson resigns hours after taking job

On the news: Magdalena Andersson has been approved by Sweden's parliament as prime minister.

Andersson was elected yesterday in the Swedish parliament (the Riksdag) with the closest possible result: 117 members of the parliament (MPs) backed her, 174 voted against Andersson, a further 57 abstained. 

However, she was elected because under Swedish law she only needed a majority of MPs not to vote against her. Since the Riksdag has 349 members, she would not have been elected with one more vote against her.

Among other things, the result was tight because the Social Democrats have been running a minority government with the Greens for seven years.

Andersson is replacing Stefan Lofven, who had been forced to resign.

The last election took place in 2018. Lofven's Social democrats held on to power but suffered their worst showing since 1908. It was the second coalition run by Lofven, consisting of the Social Democrats and the Green Party. 

With only 116 out of 349 seats, it was the smallest minority government in Swedish history. 

And it failed soon: In a vote of no-confidence held on 21 June 2021, Lofven had been voted out of office but was returned to office by parliament in July when the leader of the biggest opposition party, the centre-right Moderates, failed to get enough backing to form a new government. 

In August, Lofven said that he would resign in November to give his successor a chance to improve the Social Democrats' standing in the polls with the next elections. 

In the Lofven cabinet, Magdalena Andersson served as finance minister.

The 54-year-old Social Democrat leader is the country's first-ever female prime minister, with Sweden being the last Nordic country to have elected a woman as the national leader.

She is a former junior swimming champion from the university city of Uppsala and began her political career in 1996 as political adviser to Prime Minister Goran Persson.

Andersson will face a tough job from the outset, with opposition parties on the right rejecting the government's budget right after she was elected yesterday. 

Instead, she will likely have to govern for the ten months until the next national elections (on 11 September 2022) with a budget drawn up by the rightwing populist Sweden Democrats and the mainstream centre-right Moderates and Christian Democrats.

Although she has enough time to gain prominence and shape before the next election, she will risk appearing as a weak prime minister since her government does not have a majority in parliament.

Bottom Line: There is currently a lack of stability in Swedish politics. That is so since 2010 when the anti-immigration and nationalist Sweden Democrats first entered parliament and broke up the traditional system of leftwing and rightwing blocs. So Andersson will not have an easy time, at least until the national election next fall. However, her chances of being prime minister after that election are not bad since her party, the Social Democrats, is still the strongest party in Sweden.