Sweden’s finance minister now frontrunner to become new prime minister

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Sweden’s ruling party has nominated the country’s finance minister, Magdalena Andersson, as its next leader.

Andersson was unanimously chosen by the Social Democrats’ constituencies on Wednesday to succeed Stefan Löfven.

The choice will be endorsed at the party’s congress in early November, where she is the only candidate.

If approved, Andersson – who has served as finance minister since 2014 – would become Sweden’s first-ever female prime minister when Löfven steps down.

“I am of course very honoured,” Andersson said at a press conference, where she has the support of the party’s main regional federations.

Löfven had announced in August that he would resign at the Social Democrats’ upcoming congress in Gothenburg after seven years in power.

The decision came less than two months after Löfven became Sweden’s first-ever prime minister to lose no-confidence motion.

He was however re-elected by Sweden’s parliament two weeks after being dismissed.

His departure in November should also give his successor time to prepare for the 2022 legislative elections.

Andersson, who was a top-level swimmer in her youth before studying economics in Stockholm, is originally from Uppsala, north of Stockholm.

“Magdalena is a person who tells it like it is and does what is necessary,” said Elvy Söderström, head of the Social Democrat nomination committee.

If Andersson hopes to become Sweden’s first female leader, she must also receive the backing of parliament and successfully negotiate the country’s budget for 2022.

She is not the first woman to lead the Social Democrats, however, after former minister Mona Sahlin, who left office after her electoral defeat in 2010.

Other Nordic countries have appointed female leaders years before Sweden, such as Finland in 2003 and Norway in 1981.

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