Swedish PM resigns, paves way for first woman premier
Swedish PM resigns, paves way for first woman premier
Journalists surround Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven as he walks from the government headquarters to  parliament to hand in his resignation to the speaker. —AP

STOCKHOLM: Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven resigned on Wednesday, paving the way for the country, a gender-equality champion, to finally have a woman prime minister.

Magdalena Andersson, the current finance minister, was elected to replace Lofven as the head of the Social Democratic Party last week, putting her on track to becoming premier if she wins a vote in parliament expected next week.

Lofven this summer said he would step down in November to give his successor enough time to prepare for the Sept 2022 general election.

The Social Democrats need the support of both their Green Party coalition partners and the Left and Centre parties to elect a new prime minister.

The Centre Party said it would back Andersson, and the Left is expected to do the same.

Lofven, who is to remain as caretaker premier until his replacement, said he expected parliament to elect Andersson relatively smoothly.

“The Swedish people want a quick transition,” he told reporters after his resignation.

Installing the first woman as prime minister sounds almost anachronistic in a country that has long championed gender equality. All other Nordic countries — Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland — have seen women lead their governments.

The change in the Social Democrats’ leadership comes as the party hovers close to its lowest-ever approval ratings with elections less than a year away.

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