Sweden's parliament set to elect first woman PM

Sweden’s parliament set to elect first woman PM

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Stockholm: Sweden’s parliament looks set to elect Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson as the country’s first woman prime minister on Wednesday, hours after she clinched a last-minute deal securing key support.

The 54-year-old took over as the leader of the Social Democratic Party earlier this month and reached an agreement with the Left Party later on Tuesday to raise his pension in exchange for his support in the parliamentary vote on Wednesday.

“We have reached an agreement to strengthen the finances of the poorest pensioners,” Andersson told public broadcaster SVT minutes after the deal was announced.

“We’re not going to block Andersson,” Left Party leader Nooshi Dadgostar told Swedish Radio.

Under Sweden’s system, a prime ministerial candidate does not need the support of a majority in parliament — rather, they just need to not have a majority against them.

Andersson has already received the support of the Social Democrats’ coalition partner the Greens, as well as the Centre Party.

However, political observers pointed out that the center party may still defeat Anderson’s election.

It had previously warned that if she gave too much concession to the left-wing party, it might withdraw support.

Centre Party leader Anne Luf declined to comment on the left-wing deal with Anderson on Monday night.

Voting will be held at 0800 GMT.

If elected, Andersson would formally take over her functions following a meeting with King Carl XVI Gustaf on Friday.

She will succeed Stefan Lofven, who resigned on November 10 after 7 years as prime minister. This is a widely anticipated move designed to give his successor time to contribute to the country. Preparations for the September 2022 election.

The election is less than a year away, and the Social Democratic Party is currently hovering near the lowest approval rate ever.

The right-wing opposition led by conservative moderates has gradually approached the anti-immigration Swedish Democratic Party in recent years and hopes to govern with its informal support.

-“Pragmatic” technocrats-

Although Sweden is a country that has long advocated gender equality, there has never been a woman as prime minister.

All other Nordic countries—Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland—have women leading governments.

After being recognized as the leader of the Social Democratic Party, Anderson, a former junior swimming champion often described as “pragmatic” and “technocratic”, outlined three political priorities for the future.

She said she wanted to “take back democratic control of schools, health care and elderly care” and get rid of the privatization of the welfare sector.

She also stated that her goal is to make Sweden a role model for global climate transformation.

She vowed to end the apartheid, shooting and bombing incidents that have plagued the country in recent years. These incidents are usually due to the closing of rival gangs or organized crime fighting in the drug market.

The violence mainly hit vulnerable communities with large numbers of immigrants, but it has increasingly spread to other areas.

According to official statistics, in 2020, there were 366 shooting incidents in this country with a population of 10.3 million, resulting in 47 deaths.

There were 107 explosions and 102 attempted explosions.

In next year’s election, crime and immigration are expected to become one of the main concerns of Swedes.

Anders Sannerstedt, a political analyst at Lund University, predicts that this will be a “close match.”

“Currently, the four right-wing parties have 174 seats (in the parliament), while the four left-wing parties have 175 seats. Recent polls show that they are roughly the same,” he said.

Sannerstedt stated that he does not expect “significant changes” in the policies of the government led by Anderson.

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