Who is Magdalena Andersson, the woman likely to be Sweden’s next prime minister?

Who is Magdalena Andersson, the woman likely to be Sweden's next prime minister?
Will Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson become the next Swedish prime minister? Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT
After Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven stepped down as party leader, the search is on for his replacement. Here's a look at the strong favourite for the role, and what needs to happen for her to become PM.

The current Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson looks likely to be selected as Löfven’s successor.

She’s had her current job during all three Löfven governments, and previously held several high-ranking posts both in the Finance Ministry as well as being senior director at the Swedish Tax Agency.

You’re most likely to recognise her from Sweden’s budget announcements, when she can be seen carrying the document wrapped in blue and yellow ribbon.

A trained economist, she studied at Stockholm School of Economics, in Vienna, and at Harvard University in the US. In her younger years, she was a competitive swimmer.

A few things need to happen before she officially replaces Löfven, and that doesn’t mean she’d automatically become PM.

There are 26 “party districts” for the Social Democrats in Sweden, and so far four of them have nominated Andersson as the party’s next leader: Fyrbodal, Halland, Skaraborg and the powerful Skåne district. The party’s youth wing has also said it’s backing Andersson.

She has been tight-lipped about her potential new job though, refusing to comment to the TT newswire on the process or even whether the districts asked her whether she wanted the role. Districts are not required to speak directly to their nominee, and Halland and Skaraborg have both said they didn’t have contact with the Finance Minister.

In fact, no Social Democrat has openly declared an interest in becoming prime minister, with most senior ministers referring to the role of the Nomination Committee. Other possible candidates would be Justice and Migration Minister Morgan Johansson and Interior Minister Mikael Damberg for example, but Andersson has emerged as the clear front-runner. She also has the most support from Social Democrat voters by far, according to a Novus survey carried out for SVT in August where almost half of respondents said Andersson was their preferred leader.

The districts have until October 1st to submit their choice, and the election will take place at the party congress in early November in Gothenburg. This will also be the moment when current Prime Minister Stefan Löfven will request resignation.

But to actually take up the role as head of government, Andersson would then need to pass a parliamentary vote, which requires a majority of MPs not to vote against her (in other words, a majority must vote for her or abstain). That’s not a safe guarantee, given the current tight margins in parliament.

If she is voted in by parliament, Andersson will have two immediate challenges. The first is the autumn budget, where the government may be at a disadvantage since the Liberal Party left the four-party agreement that allowed previous government budgets to be passed. And the other major task would be preparing for the September 2022 election, where the Social Democrats will be hoping to recover some of the losses made in its 2018 result, the worst in a century for the centre-left.

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