Experimental observations of an azimuthal electrolyte flow driven by Lorentz force in a thin annular fluid layer placed on top of a magnet show that it develops a robust vortical system near the outer cylindrical wall. It appears to be a result of instabilities developing on a background of steady axisymmetric flow. Therefore, the goal of this paper is to establish a scene for a future comprehensive stability analysis of such a flow. We discuss popular depth-averaged and quasi-two-dimensional approximate solutions that take advantage of the thin-layer assumption first, and argue that they cannot lead to the observed flow patterns. Thus, three-dimensional toroidal flows are considered. Their similarities to various other well-studied rotating flow configurations are outlined, but no close match is found. Multiple axisymmetric solutions are detected numerically for the same governing parameters, indicating the possibility of subcritical bifurcations, namely type 1, consisting of a single torus, and type 2, developing a second counter-rotating toroidal flow near the outer cylinder. It is suggested that the transition between these two axisymmetric solutions is likely to be caused by the centrifugal instability, while the shear-type instability of the type 2 solution may be responsible for the observed vortex structures. However, a dedicated stability analysis which is currently underway and will be reported in a separate publication is required to confirm these hypotheses.