• Sweden edition
 
Sahlin slams Social Democrats over Libya

Sahlin slams Social Democrats over Libya

Published: 30 May 2011 13:35 GMT+02:00
Updated: 30 May 2011 13:35 GMT+02:00

Former Social Democrat leader Mona Sahlin has criticised the party's u-turns over Sweden's participation in the UN-backed Libya mission, and new leader Håkan Juholt for being "harsh" to former justice minister Thomas Bodström.

Sahlin expressed her dismay over the Social Democrats current position on the Libya mission - that aircraft should be replaced by naval resources - in an interview with Dagens Nyheter (DN) on Monday.

"I think the Libya mission is incredibly important and we have to maintain the (cross-party) agreement. I don't understand what is happening at the moment," Sahlin said.

Sahlin continued to argue that it would be "horrible" if the Social Democrats were to be left out of the negotiations.

"The UN has asked Sweden to participate and we Social Democrats have made an agreement with the government. Then you should conduct a discussion with the government if the deployment should be discontinued or continue," she said.

Sahlin, who served as the leader of the Social Democrats from March 2007 until 2011, was pointedly reluctant to comment on her successor, Håkan Juholt, or the path that the Social Democrats should take to win back the confidence of the Swedish voters.

Since Sahlin's decision to resign as head of the Social Democrats almost six months ago, the party has engaged in a torrid process of self-reflection as it engaged in the process of appointing a new leader and to rebuild its political platform.

A recently published book by former justice minister and staunch Sahlin ally, Thomas Bodström, has sent shockwaves once again through the party.

In his book, Bodström claimed that Sahlin was the victim of a coup headed by Håkan Juholt, who was at the time a little known although long term member of the party's rank and file.

Juholt has since responded to Bodström's accusation, dismissing him as a "mediocre thriller writer" who had spent longer playing football than as a politician.

While Sahlin declined to confirm Bodström's version of events surrounding her departure, saying that she intended to read the book first, she leapt to her former cabinet colleague's defence.

"I think that Håkan expressed himself a little harshly in that Thomas had played football longer than he had been engaged in politics," she told DN.

"Thomas is like Zlatan, I think. It would be terrible with a national team with only Zlatan but it is nice that there is one," she added, referring to the popular Swedish captain and Milan star Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Sahlin continued to discuss the process of renewal that the party is undergoing in order to be more attractive to voters in Swedish cities, admitting that the process is plagued by difficulties.

"We are a party which is so old and we have so much tradition behind us, and there are still quite a few who look backwards."

The Swedish Social Democrats received between 40-55 percent of the votes in all elections between 1940 and 1988.

Aside from some short periods of coalition rule and opposition, the party enjoyed a long period of government until the victory by the centre-right Alliance coalition in 2006, a success repeated in 2010.

The party's share of the national vote had been in decline throughout the 2000s and plunged to a record low 30.66 percent in 2010.

Mona Sahlin was appointed as the party's first female leader in 2007, to succeed the outgoing Göran Persson. She is currently working with anti-racist newspaper Expo and has taken a position at the head of the fund set up to honour the murdered foreign minister Anna Lindh.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

15:41 May 30, 2011 by Cornelius Hamelberg
Sahlin - Juholt. Seems that there's no love lost between them.

One does not invite the other to her send off party.

One does not attend the other's inauguration party.

One does not behave like that to one's party comrade.

Svartsjuk?

And neither of them is black, though one of them is obviously suffering from the disease.
15:47 May 30, 2011 by zircon
Honour the murdered foreign minister Anna Lindh? Oh, yes I see, buying wisdom is a good thing.
15:53 May 30, 2011 by jackx123
Bodström's accusations were/are right as Mona has pointed out - Russian election style.

Julholt is jus another opportunistic communist leaning on the social democrats. He cannot put forward a credible agenda other than "we must take care of the poor and the little people (as another swede recently exclaimed)"
10:20 May 31, 2011 by infidel2012
As before when she was in offfice, Sahlin was a 'Can Say' not a 'Can Do' politician. Anything she has to say is wasting good PR time for some other politician, that can actually make a difference in Sweden. Like most Swedes, always complaining with no actual solutions or actions.

Can't that bag of cold wind just retire quietly?
12:55 May 31, 2011 by Cornelius Hamelberg
Sahlin is not the only one dismayed by besserwisser Julholt's current position on the Libya mission - that aircraft should be replaced by naval resources

Mona is being reasonable and practical and like a true Swede going for consensus and still listening to NATO Commanders and those who know what's happening; Juholt who has probably done his military service is being a visionary here and two weeks ago, although Gaddafi was still not gone he was advocating that Sweden withdraw the Gripen Jas Planes' vital contributions to the mission. Juholt doesn't want to merely agree with the Swedish Government he probably wants to profile himself as the new leader – and since he's got a Mother Teresa sort of Social Democrat conscience , probably in concert with Urban Ahlin he wants to improve on what the government is not saying about the humanitarian situation and is impatient to help the Libyan people on the ground, now not just after the war is over and Gaddafi's gone. He thinks it's high time that we sent in the Swedish Navy. And medical teams, construction engineers etc...

Joking : If Juholt were commander-in-chief of the US army and in charge of using the military as part of foreign policy we would all be reminded of this old song:

http://www.google.com/#sclient=psy&hl=...end+the+Marines
Today's headlines
Sponsored Article
On the move: Sweden's shifting mobility trends
House keys: Shutterstock.

On the move: Sweden's shifting mobility trends

Finding somewhere to live when you move to Sweden is a challenge. With changes afoot The Local caught up with an expert from letting agency Residensportalen to find out in what direction the market is going, and how Google Glasses may just help you find your dream home. READ () »

The Local List
Ten most disgusting Swedish foods
Salty liquorice, anyone? Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Ten most disgusting Swedish foods

Swedish food is, of course, a matter of taste. But it's mostly disgusting. Our loyal followers on Twitter and Facebook shared what they thought were the worst of them all. READ () »

Sweden wants cruise missiles 'for defence'
Defence Minister Karin Enström. File photo: TT

Sweden wants cruise missiles 'for defence'

The Swedish government has announced plans to beef up its defence forces by fitting its fleet of Gripen fighter jets with long-range cruise missiles. READ () »

Swede of the Week
Sweden's oldest would-be MP: 'They promised I wouldn't get in'
Swedes vote in the 2010 elections. File photo: Dan Hansson/TT

Sweden's oldest would-be MP: 'They promised I wouldn't get in'

Gösta Arvedson, 89, is the oldest Riksdag candidate in Sweden, but our Swede of the Week explains that the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) had to make some unusual promises for him to put his name forward. READ () »

Elections 2014
Most Swedes lack info ahead of EU vote
The Green Party is one of only two parties devoting their websites to the EU elections. Here campaign manager Emma Rung presents the party's posters. Photo: Leif R Jansson/TT

Most Swedes lack info ahead of EU vote

The majority of Swedes feel the country's political parties are not doing enough to inform them about the upcoming European Parliament elections. Only two of the eight parties have dedicated their homepages to the May 25th polls. READ () »

Fatal Norrköping Brawl
Local church tried to stop Norrköping murders
Swedish police on the scene following Monday's fatal brawl. File: TT

Local church tried to stop Norrköping murders

The Syrian-Orthodox Church in Ektorp had tried to quell tensions between two rival families just hours before bad blood spilled into a massive brawl and two brothers lost their lives. READ () »

JobTalk Sweden
'Foreigners don't need to show banks Swedish ID'
The bridge that connects Sweden to the European continent. File: L.E. Daniel Larsson/Flickr

'Foreigners don't need to show banks Swedish ID'

The Swedish agency that helps Europeans fight impediments to the EU principle of free movement has revealed an increase in complaints, including one from a foreign citizen unable to open a bank account in Sweden. READ () »

Eurovision 2014
Pig heart shatters in Sweden's Eurovision clip
Sanna Nielsen in the new clip. Photo: YouTube (screenshot)

Pig heart shatters in Sweden's Eurovision clip

Sweden's Eurovision hopeful Sanna Nielsen released the official video for the song Undo on Wednesday, a clip featuring leather, slow motion destruction, and a frozen pig's heart and some violence. READ () »

Software robot pinches Swedish flats in seconds
Swedish apartments. File: The Local

Software robot pinches Swedish flats in seconds

A Swedish landlord suspects that a property fixer has set up a software robot to sign up for new flats on the market within seconds, and is charging house hunters to use the service. READ () »

Swedish zoo fire 'kills only the spiders'
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Swedish zoo fire 'kills only the spiders'

Twenty-five fire fighters were on hand on Wednesday night when a fire broke out in a southern Sweden animal park. The vast majority of the animals were unharmed, but the cluster of spiders wasn't so lucky. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
On the move: Sweden's shifting mobility trends
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 23
TT
Gallery
Inside the 850-year-old king's coffin
Features
Sponsored: South-eastern Sweden offers Öland beaches and more
Gallery
Swedish underwear shop puts staff in front of the camera
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The Local's Property of the Week - Täby
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - India Unlimited
Features
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - A film, food, and finance feast
National
University applications rocket to record high
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 18-20
TT
Society
Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
Shutterstock
National
Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Advertisement:
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
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 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

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

718
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