Swedish PM formally resigns after right-wing bloc wins vote
Sweden’s Social Democratic Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson has handed in her resignation after a right-wing bloc that includes a nationalist, anti-immigration party won a narrow majority in the country’s parliament.
Ms Andersson met with Andreas Norlen, the speaker of Sweden’s 349-seat Riksdag, to formally inform him of her departure.
She will continue in a caretaking capacity until a new government is formed.
Mr Norlen is expected to ask the leader of the centre-right Moderates, Ulf Kristersson, to try to form a governing coalition.
Following Sunday’s general elections, the right-wing bloc has 176 seats, while the centre-left bloc with the Social Democrats has 173.
On Wednesday, once 99.9% of votes had been counted, Ms Andersson conceded while populist Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Akesson declared victory for the four-party right-of-centre bloc.
The Sweden Democrats won more votes than the Moderates but are not considered likely to lead the next government.
The party was founded in the 1980s by far-right extremists, and while it has moved to the mainstream in recent years it has not fully shaken off that stigma.
Still, because it won more seats than any other party on the right, and is now the country’s second largest party in parliament, it is expected to have significant leverage in any government.
Ms Andersson, who heads the largest party, resigned less than a year after she became Sweden’s first female head of government.
Her appointment as Prime Minister had 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 never previously had a woman in the top political post.
Ms Andersson led Sweden’s historic bid to join Nato following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February and vowed to step down.
Akesson declared victory for the four-party bloc and said his party would be “a constructive and driving force” in the work of rebuilding safety in Sweden.
Ms Andersson became Sweden’s first female prime minister last year and led the country in its historic bid to join Nato following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Mr Kristersson, who is considered to be the leading figure in the right-wing bloc and a possible PM, thanked voters for their trust.
“Now we will get Sweden in order,” he wrote on Facebook.
“The Moderates and the other parties on my side have received the mandate for the change that we asked for. I am now starting the work of forming a new, effective government,” Mr Kristersson said.
Mr Akesson said in his speech on Wednesday evening said it was time for a new chapter in Sweden.
“Now it will be enough with the failed Social Democratic policy that for eight years has continued to lead the country in the wrong direction,” he said.
“It is time to start rebuilding security, welfare and cohesion. It is time to put Sweden first. The Sweden Democrats will be a constructive and driving force in this work.
“Now the work begins to make Sweden good again,” he said.
The tally gave the right-wing bloc 176 seats in the 349-seats Riksdag, and Ms Andersson’s centre-left bloc with 173 seats. A majority in Sweden requires 175 seats.
The newly elected Riksdag is scheduled to gather for the first time on September 26.
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