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Reinfeldt and Juholt spar in first debate

Reinfeldt and Juholt spar in first debate

Published: 15 Jun 2011 12:24 GMT+02:00
Updated: 15 Jun 2011 21:43 GMT+02:00

The leaders of Sweden’s two largest political parties clashed for the first time on Wednesday, with Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt warning that pressure from opposition parties on the right and left were pushing his minority government towards crisis.

Reinfeldt head of the Moderate Party, started off the discussions by referring to recent surveys showing that Sweden is one of the healthiest economies in Europe today.

“This is the Sweden we see developing before us. 120,000 newly employed in a year, maybe 300,000 new jobs by 2015,” he said.

According to Reinfeldt the opportunities to keep Sweden together and force back societal problems are increasing.

“If we just develop and nurture our way of working, there are great opportunities around the corner,” he said.

And important tasks are lying in wait for the government within education and labour market policies, he maintained.

Reinfeldt also took aim at the tactics of the far-right Sweden Democrats.

"If you are not prepared to take responsibility for Sweden together and in the long-term, you should not ruin it in the short-term through recklessness," he Sweden Democrat head Jimmie Åkesson.

Reinfeldt's centre-right coalition won a second mandate last September but fell two seats short of a majority in an election marked by the spectacular performance of the Sweden Democrats, which entered parliament for the first time, snagging 20 seats and the role of kingmaker.

The Sweden Democrats have since sided with the leftwing opposition Social Democrat, Green, and Left parties to defeat the government on a series of key votes, including on the sale of state-owned companies and a controversial back-to-work scheme for the unemployed.

"Our protection against having a parliamentary majority take over Sweden is the finance policy framework. It is the core of the government's power, to eliminate the possibilities of short-sighted, irresponsible majorities such as those Åkesson is pushing for," Reinfeldt said.

Reinfeldt also stressed the importance of having a policy framework to ensure that finances were in order and wanted to know if Håkan Juholt and the Social Democrats would respect these.

Juholt, who took over as the Social Democrats' leader in March and was participating in his first debate as party leader, became irritated that Reinfeldt was trying to “teach” him the importance of a having a fiscal policy framework .

Fredrik Reinfeldt has no business lecturing us Social Democrats on the economy. We invented the framework for fiscal policy, against your wishes. Of course we will stick to it,” he said in reposnse.

Reinfelst criticised Juholt for promising financial reforms in articles and interviews but Juholt answered that his party hadn’t proposed one suggestion that they couldn’t finance.

“But I have higher ambitions for Sweden than just passively lowering taxes,” he said.

The new spokesperson for the Green Party, Gustaf Fridolin, also addressed the other party leaders for the first time.

Backed by Lars Ohly of the Left Party, he chose to concentrate on the growing child poverty in Sweden.

Reinfeldt retorted that he in fact thought numbers showed a decline in children living in poor circumstances in Sweden since the 1990s.

He also said that the government already has increased benefits for families with more than one child and that a more generous housing benefit will be introduced this autumn.

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

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Your comments about this article

14:08 June 15, 2011 by Syftfel
I, admittedly, did not watch this debate. I was busy. Hence I can not go into detail of what was said. Based on what I know though from media reports, neither of these two gentlemen (well, one is a genetleman, the other a socialistic Ulbricht-style henchman-dictator) are fit to lead Sweden. The one on the right has failed Sweden. Royally! The other one would make a bad situation worse by trying to plagiarize a certain sewer rat, and steal more money from those who earn it, and donate it to the lazy ones who don't. Henceforth, it is my opinion that, no more debates should take place which include the Ulbricht wannabe. He should be dumped and frozen out. He does not hold valid opinions.
14:27 June 15, 2011 by Truthgate
Syftfel, you are right.
15:24 June 15, 2011 by Rick Methven
Syftfel right?

Yup further to the right than Adolf Hitler
15:54 June 15, 2011 by Syftfel
@methven: I'm sure Hitler would be crestfallen had he read my commentary, since I generally do not agree with a Hitleresque operations mode. He might have elevated you however to a higher level in his hierarchy, since your oppression of free speech, and selective racism, is legendary in this forum. But tell me something methven, why are people like you, and other leftist rats, always so quick to invoke "Reductio ad Hitlerum" every time you disgaree with someone? Can't we debate things on their own merit? Hitler has been dead for 66 years now.
16:21 June 15, 2011 by Great Scott

I would just love to see you foaming at the mouth when you waffle on. I can just imagine you spitting all over the computer as you desperately look for those evil words your vocabulary is so full of.
16:39 June 15, 2011 by Syftfel
@Great Scott: And the same goes for you. Why can't we debate the issue. All you do is talk bout me(although I'm honored). Let's get back to the topic at hand, i.e. Juholt and his poorly masked attempts at increasing taxes, and introcucing confiscatory, palmeistic, totalitarian, socialism. That's the subject matter, not yours truly!
16:44 June 15, 2011 by Borilla

"Ulbricht-style henchman-dictator"? And you wish "to debate things on their own merit"? It is apparently acceptable for you to vent your right-wing, knee-jerk (emphasis on jerk)pseudo-philosophy by calling people names but it is unacceptable to label yours for what it is. I would point out that, if you are going to call people names, you should do so more coherently than in the manner quoted above. As pointed out by Great Scott it is difficult to debate incoherence.
18:25 June 15, 2011 by Great Scott

I don't know who's funnier you or the many on the right, who's looking like he doesn't know the answer to the man on the lefts question. Oh sorry did I saying "Left"? There I go again, I think I mentioned it once and I think I got away with it.
21:11 June 15, 2011 by swedejane

21:11 June 15, 2011 by Iraniboy
Gustaf Fridolin is a good example that it is still possible be a politician with very high ethical values!
11:39 June 16, 2011 by glamshek
WHy is no Western Channel showing the yesterday's rally in support of Bashar Al Assad of Syria ? Strange...You can only watch it on Presstv.ir .......Its not good for BBC, CNN, SKY etc
11:46 June 16, 2011 by naimad
@Borilla! way to go.

@Syftfel Dude, you should really consider therapy for so much resentment you have going on there..

I do feel this article is a bit biased favoring Moderaterna though.
12:17 June 16, 2011 by miss79
yes syftel..i think u should get help
12:42 June 16, 2011 by muscle
ok...its always fun to read the comments... but today its awesome ... :P "the world against Syftfel" :D
14:27 June 16, 2011 by Syftfel
I'm deeply honored. And humbled. - Seems my message is touching a few raw nerves. But that's OK. There's nothing like a healthy exchange of ideas. Altough some would rather not see, or want others to see, diverging opinions. How long will it be before swedejane, Great Scott, and borilla demand that voices other than their own get silenced?
13:37 June 17, 2011 by flintis
Did'nt think the debate was fair, Reinfeldt should have refused to have a battle of wits with an unarmed man !!
00:31 June 18, 2011 by prince T
The PM is doing a good job and the other man comes accross to me as bully
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