COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Sweden’s parliament on Wednesday approved Magdalena Andersson as the country’s first female prime minister, tapping the finance minister who recently became the new leader of the Social Democratic party.
Andersson was selected to replace Stefan Lofven in his roles as party leader, prime minister and secretary of state.
The development marked a milestone for Sweden, viewed for decades as one of Europe’s most progressive countries when it comes to gender relations, but which had yet to have a woman in the top political post. Lofven’s government describes itself as feminist, putting equality between women and men at the heart of national and international work.
Amineh Kakabaveh (an independent lawmaker that supported Andersson) spoke to parliament and noted that Sweden was currently marking the 100th anniversary the decision to provide universal and equal voting rights in Scandinavia.
“If women are only allowed to vote but are never elected to the highest office, democracy is not complete,” said Kakabaveh who is of Iranian Kurdish descent.
“There is something symbolic in this decision,” she added. “Feminism is always about girls and women being complete people who have the same opportunities as men and boys.”
“I was really moved by what she said. She pinpointed exactly what I thought,” Andersson said after her appointment in parliament where she got a standing ovation and a bouquet of red roses.
“I have been elected Sweden’s first female prime minister and know what it means for girls in our country,” Andersson said.
In the Riksdag’s 349-seat Riksdag 117 legislators voted for Andersson. 174 voted against her nomination, 57 abstained while one lawmaker was absent.
Under the Swedish Constitution, prime ministers can be named and govern as long as a parliamentary majority — a minimum of 175 lawmakers — is not against them.
Lofven was acting as a temporary leader of the Swedish government until Friday’s formation of a new government. Andersson is likely to form a minority government of two parties with her Social Democrat party. DemocratsThe Green Party.
Andersson, 54, sought to secure the backing of the two smaller parties that supported Sweden’s previous center-left, minority government led by Lofven — the Left Party and the Center Party. Both of them abstained when Andersson was voted out.
After days of talks, Andersson and the Left Party reached a deal to win the latter’s support. This deal was focused on pensions. It meant a supplement up to 1,000 Kronor ($111), for approximately 700,000 low-income pensioners.
Sweden’s next general election is scheduled for Sept. 11.