Magdalena Andersson nominated as Sweden’s new prime minister

Social Democrat leader Magdalena Andersson will face her first big test on Wednesday, when parliament will vote on whether or not to confirm her as Sweden's first female prime minister.

Magdalena Andersson nominated as Sweden's new prime minister
Social Democrat leader Magdalena Andersson, left, and speaker of parliament Andreas Norlén, on Monday. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Andersson’s deadline to secure a deal with parliamentary parties to enable her to become Sweden’s new prime minister ran out at noon on Monday. After ten days of negotiations with the Left Party, she has yet to reach an agreement, meaning that she has not yet secured enough votes for her prime minister bid to be secure.

After reporting the results of negotiations to parliamentary speaker Andreas Norlén, he announced that he will nominate her to be Sweden’s new prime minister, meaning that parliament will decide whether to approve or reject her nomination on Wednesday. Andersson had not requested more time to negotiate.

The vote will be held at 9am on Wednesday.

The government’s new budget will also be approved or denied in a separate vote later on Wednesday afternoon.

Under Sweden’s system of negative parliamentarianism, a prime ministerial candidate needs only to convince a majority of members of parliament not to vote against them in order to take power. But with the slim margins in the Swedish parliament, that is not actually a safe guarantee.

Andersson needs to win the votes or abstentions of both the Centre Party’s 31 MPs and the Left Party’s 28 MPs. Together with the government coalition parties’ 100 Social Democrat MPs and 16 Green Party MPs, this would bring her to the magic majority of 175 mandates (the right-wing parties have 174). She has already reached an agreement with the Centre Party.

Norlén said in the press conference that he has chosen to nominate Andersson despite her not securing an agreement with the Left Party, stating that “there is time before the vote to complete negotiations”.

If the Left Party and the Social Democrats do not reach an agreement by Wednesday, Andersson risks losing the prime minister vote in parliament – meaning that Norlén may try and find another candidate for the position, or that Andersson may have to restart negotiations.

The speaker has four chances to nominate a prime minister – if all of these fail, then there will be a new election.

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Sweden’s right-wing parties agree to bring back Norlén as Speaker 

The four parties backing Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson as prime minister on Sunday announced that they had agreed to keep the current Speaker, Andreas Norlén in place, when the role is put to a vote as parliament opens on Monday.

Sweden's right-wing parties agree to bring back Norlén as Speaker 

The parties won a three-seat majority over the bloc led by the incumbent Social Democrats in Sweden’s general election on September 11th, and are currently in the middle of negotiating how they will form Sweden’s next government. 

Sweden’s parliament meets at 11am for the official installation of the 349 MPs for this mandate period. The votes for the Speaker and three Deputy Speakers are the first item on the agenda, after which the parties each select their parliamentary leaders and then vote on who should chair each of the parliamentary committees. 

READ ALSO: What happens next as parliament reopens? 

In a joint press release announcing the decision, the parties also agreed that the Sweden Democrats would be given eight of the 16 chairmanships the bloc will have of parliamentary committees in the next parliament, and that MPs for all four parties would back Julia Kronlid, the Sweden Democrats’ Second Deputy Leader, as the second deputy Speaker, serving under Norlén. 

In the press release, the parties said that Norlén had over the last four years shown that he has “the necessary personal qualities and qualifications which the role requires”. 

The decision to retain Norlén, who presided over the 134 days of talks and parliamentary votes that led to the January Agreement in 2019, was praised by Social Democrat leader Magdalena Andersson. 

Norlén, she said in a statement, had “managed his responsibilities well over the past four years and been a good representative of Sweden’s Riksdag.” 

The decision to appoint Kronlid was opposed by both the Left Party and the Green Party, who said that she supported tightening abortion legislation, and did not believe in evolution.

The Green Party’s joint leader Märta Stenevi said that her party “did not have confidence in Julia Kronlid”, pointing to an interview she gave in 2014 when she said she did not believe that humans were descended from apes.

The party has proposed its finance spokesperson Janine Alm Ericson as a rival candidate. 

The Left Party said it was planning to vote for the Centre Party’s candidate for the post second deputy Speaker in the hope of blocking Kronlid as a candidate.