COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Stefan Lofven stepped down Wednesday as Sweden’s prime minister, paving the way for his replacement as leader of the Social Democratic Party to become Sweden’s first female head of government.
Lofven will continue as caretaking prime minister until a new government is formed, parliament speaker Andreas Norlen said. Norlen is expected to ask Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson whether she can find support in the 349-seat Riksdag assembly to form a Cabinet.
“It has been seven fantastic years, and I am very proud as a working boy to have had the privilege of leading our country during these years,” Lofven said during a news conference.
No time frame for a new Cabinet was announced. Under the Swedish Constitution, prime ministers can govern as long as a parliamentary majority – a minimum 175 lawmakers – is not against them.
Andersson, 54, was elected to lead the Social Democrats during their regular party congress on Nov. 4. , Lofven, 64, announced in August that he was stepping down from the post.
The present Social Democratic-Green governing coalition hopes to secure Andersson’s confirmation as prime minister with the backing of two smaller parties. Sweden has a general election set for next year.
Formally, the parliament speaker will ask party leaders who may be able to form a government.
Lofven, in office since 2014, became the first Swedish prime minister to lose a confidence motion in Parliament in June. But the country avoided a snap election when he was later able to form a coalition government with the same partners as his previous one.
The Social Democrats currently hold 100 of Parliament’s 349 seats.
This story corrects the age of Lofven to 64, not 63.