• Sweden edition
 

'Sahlin will lead Social Democrats'

Published: 04 Jan 2007 14:53 GMT+01:00
Updated: 04 Jan 2007 14:53 GMT+01:00

Plenty of names have been bandied about since Persson's resignation on election night.

But just when it seemed that Margot Wallström and Carin Jämtin would battle it out on the final straight, both of them dropped out.

Mona Sahlin, a colourful former government minister, is now the name on everybody's lips.

But has the party really decided that the leader must be a woman? If so, are there any other female candidates left? Or is their a male heir apparent waiting in the wings?

The Local spoke to political scientist and social democratic commentator Stig-Björn Ljunggren to see if he could shine a light on the dark arts of the party nominating committee.

First things first: Mona Sahlin is being tipped as a dead certainty to get the nomination. Is she?

"Yes. It's what I've been saying all along. Some other candidates got a big boost in the media but it was more like choosing a Lucia than a reflection of reality," said Ljunggren.

Carin Jämtin is a case in point. Newspaper Aftonbladet made the 42-year-old Stockholm politician its leading candidate when it became increasingly clear that Margot Wallström was not interested.

"She was like a Lucia - the virgin who just came through the door, leaving no dirt on the floor. She is not ready for the job yet but she could be good material for the future," said Ljunggren.

While the Swedish media were looking for a Lucia, Ljunggren reckons the party was searching for a new Anna Lindh.

The former foreign minister - "a cross between my mother and Olof Palme" - was widely tipped to succeed Persson before her brutal murder at a Stockholm department store in 2003.

"Margot Wallström is somebody who's about the same as Anna Lindh. She knows this. And a lot of people in the party were serious about Wallström.

"But she was never comfortable in government, and she is happy where she is at the EU Commission," said Ljunggren.

If history is to be believed, a "no" in the Social Democratic nomination procedure is not always definitive. But Wallström and Jämtin have managed to convince commentators that they really are out of contention, which many feel has put former infrastructure minister Ulrica Messing, 38, back in the picture.

"If Sahlin falls out of the race for any reason then they may try with Messing again.

"She has been around for a long time but does not have very much power in the party.

"Many may feel that she's not ready, which is indicated by the fact that not even her own party district has pushed for her nomination," said Ljunggren.

Effectively then, Sahlin would seem to have the female side sewn up. But are there any male candidates skulking about? Former justice minister Thomas Bodström for example?

"Bodström was recruited just a few years ago. He has no background in the party.

"He needs to get out to the local branches and drink the beer and eat the 'pyttipanna'."

Swedish diced meat and potato dishes aside, is there any future in the former footballer?

"If we had to choose a perfect candidate it would be him with five more years of education in the party," said Ljunggren.

But in Ljunggren's view there are two long-serving male politicians ready to serve if called upon to lead the party into the 2010 election. Former finance minister Per Nuder is one. Former industry minister Thomas Östros is the other.

"There are a lot of people very much against Nuder.

"I've heard people say that they will leave the party if he's elected, or that he makes them puke.

"I don't really understand it. He's capable, he has been around, he's intelligent and he knows all there is to know about the political situation at home and abroad.

"But he was close to Göran Persson and a lot of party members think that Persson's gang must go," said Ljunggren.

Many observers have ruled out Thomas Östros on the grounds that he lacks charisma. Is that a fair assessment?

"I don't think he minds being called boring. It gives him the element of surprise.

"And it's not necessarily a bad thing to be seen as somewhat buttoned-down - not so much the funny guy but definitely capable," said Ljunggren.

In his view then, the committee has three relatively strong candidates to choose between: Sahlin, Nuder and Östros, all of whom tread a "middle-of-the-road" political line.

"The nominating committee certainly doesn't want to interview socialists," said Ljunggren.

Mona Sahlin will be 50 this March, which, coincidentally, is also the month when the party congress makes its final decision.

She has still not completely shaken off the memory of the so-called "Toblerone affair" of 1996, when she was found to have paid for goods and services with her work credit card.

This and other factors have meant that not everybody is happy at the prospect of Sahlin taking up the reins. But how strong is opposition to her potential candidacy within the party?

"Not that strong. She has held things together after ten years of bombing in the media and the party.

"Some criticisms of her of are true. She is lazy, doesn't read enough documents, is not academic, and maybe takes too many chances. But she is also street smart."

Is it not a worry for the party that her checkered history will come back to haunt her?

"The scandals will come back to the surface before she is elected. But she is always watched closely anyway.

"It's like old alcoholics who start going to the pub again, you don't expect them to order a glass of milk," said Ljunggren.

Paul O'Mahony (paul.omahony@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
Business & Money
American sales squeeze Ericsson profits
Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg presents the third-quarter earnings report at the company's headquarters in Kista. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

American sales squeeze Ericsson profits

Swedish telecoms equipment maker Ericsson reported a decline in net profit in the third quarter despite an increase in sales, boosted by business in emerging markets. READ  

Interview
'Too many concerts feel the same'
Sofar hosts secret gigs in Swedish apartments. Photo: Sofar

'Too many concerts feel the same'

Kattis Bjork founded Stockholm's secret gig scene - Sofar - a year ago. The Local caught up with her as she prepared to celebrate the project's anniversary this weekend and revealed the concept will spread to other Swedish cities in 2015. READ  

Stockholm 'sub hunt'
Sweden calls off suspect submarine search
Ships are returning to shore in Sweden. Photo: TT

Sweden calls off suspect submarine search

The core search for a suspected foreign vessel in Swedish waters has been called off. The armed forces said they remained convinced foreign underwater activity had taken place but had not identified an intruder. READ  

Business & Money
US and Japan fuel surge for Volvo trucks
Ed Carbaugh prepares to install parts on a truck engine on an assembly line at Volvo Trucks' powertrain manufacturing facility in Hagerstown, Maryland, March 2014. Photo: Patrick Semansky/AP

US and Japan fuel surge for Volvo trucks

Sweden's Volvo, the world's second-largest maker of trucks, said Friday it saw a spike in profits in the third quarter, boosted by thriving sales in the US and Japanese markets. READ  

Inspectors attacked at rogue doc’s surgery
Cigarettes and beer photo: Shutterstock

Inspectors attacked at rogue doc’s surgery

Inspectors who were sent to shut down a doctor’s surgery in Gothenburg were physically attacked and fled the premises to get help from the police. READ  

Police turn Swede’s vodka into water
A Swede loads a car with alcohol in northern Germany. File photo: Drago Prvulovic/TT

Police turn Swede’s vodka into water

Swedish police say they will pay a man 16,000 kronor ($2,200) in damages after much of the alcohol they confiscated from him was stolen, while many of the bottles they returned were filled with water. READ  

Diplomacy
US to get first female ambassador in Sweden
File photo: Athena Center for Leadership Studies

US to get first female ambassador in Sweden

The United States Embassy in Stockholm is set to get its first female ambassador after the White House announced it was nominating the Iranian-American ex-investment banker Azita Raji to take over from Mark Brzezinski. READ  

Neo-Nazi attacks
Neo-Nazis cleared of knife attack on Nigerian
Police intervene after neo-Nazis attack an anti-Nazi rally in Kärrtorp, December 2013. Photo: Hampus Andersson/TT

Neo-Nazis cleared of knife attack on Nigerian

A Stockholm court has cleared three neo-Nazis of stabbing a Nigerian man in an unprovoked attack. But two of the men will face jail after they were convicted of racial agitation at a riot. READ  

Julian Assange
Assange court ruling expected on Monday
Julian Assange at Ecuador's embassy in the UK. Photo: Anthony Devlin

Assange court ruling expected on Monday

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can expect the next court ruling on his case to take place on Monday October 27th in Stockholm. READ  

Politics
Sweden to get EU 'Christmas present'
Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven at an EU summit in Brussels this week. Photo: TT

Sweden to get EU 'Christmas present'

Sweden is set to get 1.2 billion kronor ($168 million) back from the EU on December 1st, according to leaked EU documents which suggest that other European countries will have to make large top-up payments this year. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
Blog updates

24 October

Editor’s blog, October 24th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Get ready to read our weekly digest of Swedish news in less than 60 seconds. The..." READ »

 

24 October

Is darkness weather? (Blogweiser) »

"I try very hard not to talk about the weather. This has come after a decade..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Get 20% off unique Swedish homeware
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
Gallery
People-watching: October 19th
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: October 17th - 24th
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
What's on in Sweden: October 10th - 17th
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Society
My Swedish Career: A French fashionista in Sweden
Society
Swede's anti-bully Facebook tale goes viral
Society
Have you seen Sweden's viral subway cancer campaign?
National
Isis: Swedes linked to Turkish prisoner swap
National
Should Swedes be banned from buying sex abroad?
Gallery
Fredrik Reinfeldt's leaving presents
National
Five Swedish TV shows you shouldn't miss
Gallery
A tool belt, a casserole, and a book. Fredrik Reinfeldt's parliament gifts
TT
Lifestyle
Top five winter festivals in Sweden
TT
National
Sami reindeer herders win mine reprieve
Gallery
Property of the Week: Gamla Enskede
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

991
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN