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SOCIAL DEMOCRATS IN TURMOIL
Mona Sahlin: I was not forced out

Mona Sahlin: I was not forced out

Published: 16 Nov 2010 08:18 GMT+01:00
Updated: 16 Nov 2010 08:18 GMT+01:00

Mona Sahlin has denied that she was pushed to resign as leader of the embattled Social Democrats and said that being the first female leader has been a source of both support and controversy.

"I don't feel let down at all or that I haven't been stood up for," Sahlin said on the day after she had announced her resignation in dramatic fashion.

Sahlin is the party's first female leader. The first female to step foot into an office where every prior occupant had been a male and every attribute of power had been built up by a man, she said. But she was unwilling to speculate as the role that this played in the recent turbulence in a party long known for stability.

"I am a woman, the first female party leader for 120 years, of course this has been a factor, both for why I have been so appreciated among some and so controversial among others. But it was not why I resigned, because I was the target of some sort of campaign within the party. Absolutely not," Sahlin said.

She is happy that the party has finally recognised the crisis that it is in.

"It has been turbulent days for the party. But one can also say that - finally - insight of the crisis is serious within social democracy. This I, and others, should have been better at allowing the party feel a lot earlier and not just after this election loss," said Sahlin in a break in the Socialist International's ongoing meeting in Paris.

Mona Sahlin arrived at the meeting shortly before lunch. She reiterated that a change in leadership is good for the party.

"It is not the people, it is the politics, which voters in several consecutive elections have rejected and where the need for renewal is great. It is my considered opinion that people have to have their mandates put to the test, because otherwise we can't make the major changes, of which I am convinced that the party requires," said Sahlin.

Sahlin was unwilling to answer the question as to why she felt unable to renew the party.

Mona Sahlin's will remain in the role as party leader until the Social Democrat party's extra congress in March, when her replacement will be elected and she will leave parliament.

A career politician, Sahlin has not decided on her plans for life after political office, although confirmed that she has already received a couple of job offers.

"A have received one or two, more or less serious," she said. "But this is nothing I am going to even think about until the congress in March."

Sahlin will in December present her view on how she thinks the party can be revitalised, but ruled out that this would include a shared leadership.

"That I don't believe in. I have heard no one in the party name the word," she said.

Sahlin rejected information that people within the party leadership had pushed her not to stand for reelection.

"There have been some strange things in the media, such as that on Saturday I was encouraged to resign. On Saturday I was at the gym, then I was at the cinema and then I went to get a hair cut. I had no talks with anyone on Saturday," she said.

As the hunt for the Social Democrats' new leader continues, two heavyweight contenders - Margot Wallström and Thomas Bodström - both ruled themselves out of the post.

Wallström is rumoured to be focusing her energies on becoming the first female head of the United Nations, and Bodström is currently living with his family in the USA.

Both within and outside of the party a slew of names are being raised as possible candidates. Former Riksdag speaker Björn von Sydow would like to see chair of the IF Metall union, Stefan Löfven. Mihael Damberg, currently chairperson of the party's Stockholm district, is also a popular name.

Bookkeepers Ladbrokes meanwhile have Sven-Erik Österberg, the party's Riksdagen group leader, as its favourite to succeed Mona Sahlin, at odds of 3.25 to one.

TT/The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:56 November 16, 2010 by scandinavian leather
No, no, of course not,.

The party just felt that Mona's talents as a tennis commentator were more worthwhile and, in the long run, beneficial to the party
11:17 November 16, 2010 by Mzungu
Nah!.... She wasn't pushed,she was SHOVED!
11:47 November 16, 2010 by Mirrorman
i thought this was a news site in english? this awful translation makes the article almost dyslexic.
15:15 November 16, 2010 by Syftfel
Whatever you say Mona. I just hope Swedes realize that the social dems must not ever get in a position of power in Sweden again. The social dems and their SSU henchmen may give lip service to 'democracy', but at their core they're nothing more than unforgiving marxists. Beginning with a certain O.Palme they can take responsibility for: 1) An absurd tax system. 2) An educational system which has been dragged down to the lowest common denominator(The term 'Enhetsskola' was adopted from the East Germany). 3) An immigration policy that is one step away from obliterating Swedish culture. 4) A union movement(LO) that has created an entire class of useless, lazy, do-nothings. 5) A health care system which is approaching third-world standards (I have to wait 3 months to see a specialist, and only when a unionized, arrogant, bureaucrat says so?. I want to decide on my own when I see a specialist). I could go on. - If the social dems have their way we'd quickly be Cuba or East Germany in a pathetic, senseless "class struggle". What a joke! Let's wave a permanent goodbye to Mona and her socialist bureaucrats and look forward to a new, prosperous Sweden, where everyone contributes.
15:26 November 16, 2010 by McChatter
Have to agree with Mirrorman - the translations are terrible. Especially when they translate the quotes. Does no-one ever read what they have written at the Local?

I loved Moaner's quote about a new job: "But this is nothing I am going to even think about until the congress in March." When you get the redundancy pay - after voluntarily resigning! - that she is going to get, you don't ever have to work again. Another socialist with her snout in the trough. Bah!
09:45 November 17, 2010 by Decoster
I don't respect the Swedish media, read the news in the newspaper and see how biased they are...one day a journalist interviewed me, after the articles has been published, I noticed that he cut part of my words which made me look like the one who hates the integration of other in Swedish society. shame on you Swedish media...
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