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Göran Hägglund lays down the gauntlet

Göran Hägglund lays down the gauntlet

Published: 30 Sep 2011 16:04 GMT+02:00
Updated: 30 Sep 2011 16:04 GMT+02:00

Christian Democrat leader Göran Hägglund has challenged his critics within the party to stand up and fight for the leadership, in response to a petition which has cast doubt on his position.

"I would like to see someone stand up and say 'I want to be party leader'," Hägglund said in an interview with Sveriges Radio's Ekot news programme.

Hägglund has been under fire periodically following the party's poor showing at the 2010 election and after a string of weak opinion polls.

Confirmation that there is a petition circulating among the party's members demanding that there be an open leadership contest ahead of the vote at the upcoming national conference, constitutes a direct challenge to Hägglund.

Those behind the petition argue that the party should follow the lead of the Centre and Green Party and adopt a more transparent leadership process with several candidates touring the country to present their policies.

Hägglund told Ekot that he would welcome a challenge, "someone to measure myself against", and invited candidates to stand up and be counted.

Later on Friday, former minister Mats Odell confirmed that he is open to the idea of being a leadership candidate.

"Of course I have to have a think," he said adding, "I have learned that Stockholm and Uppsala counties have nominated me," he said.

Odell however said that while it was "flattering" to be nominated by the party districts, he would not state his position until he has received an approach from the party's election nominating committee.

The Christian Democrats hold their national conference in January and the party is set to re/elect a party leader and party committee.

Hägglund played down the significance of opposition in some of the party's key districts.

"It is the same districts as before who say they do not support me, Uppsala and Stockholm. But I have noticed that Skåne, Västerbotten, Blekinge. The City of Stockholm and Gothenburg, and a few more I understand, expressing support," Hägglund told the TT news agency.

Hägglund claimed in his interview with Sveriges Radio that the opposition comes from right wingers within the party.

"There are a number within the party who want to pull the party to the right, who put in a lot of time and effort to push for tax cuts for the well off," he said.

TT/Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:25 October 1, 2011 by rolfkrohna
Just to give you guys a small language lesson here. You "lay down the law", or you "throw down the gauntlet". don't mix them up. The "gauntlet" was the door or lid in front of the canons on ships like Wasa, when they were going to shoot at someone, the were always in a hurry, and "threw" it down. Thereof the expression. That is what Hagglund is doing, figuratively speaking.

Have fun ;-)

rolf.krohna at gmail

Writing from china
09:54 October 2, 2011 by sjuttiosjusköterskorpåsjukhuset
Such awkward idiomatic expressions indeed. I believe it's a generational thing, albeit people confuse idiomatic expressions just like they do metaphors. "Throw down the gauntlet" and "lay down the gauntlet" mean the same thing: to offer a challenge. "Lay down the gauntlet" seems more popular with the younger generation, as well as in sports and politics. "Throw down . . ." seems more popular with us older folks. Now, "take up the gauntlet" means to accept a challenge. Another one I remember is "go the gauntlet" or "run the gauntlet" which both mean to suffer severe criticism or tribulation.
09:51 October 3, 2011 by Byggare Bob
The "gauntlet" has nothing to do with a cannon door. It is from the French "gant" meaning glove.

The knight would throw his glove on the ground in front of an opponent and the opponent would either take up that challenge "take up the gauntlet" or decline.

While "throw" is a more historically correct usage, language develops and both forms of the same phrase are in common usage.

And let's face it - Göran Hägglund is a nice chap, he would place his glove carefully on the ground. He is most definitely not "laying down the law".

BTW - the Wasa never fired a shot in anger. Sank on its first trip out of the docks.
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