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No foreigners among Sweden's most powerful

No foreigners among Sweden's most powerful

Published: 25 Nov 2011 12:44 GMT+01:00
Updated: 25 Nov 2011 12:44 GMT+01:00

Topping this year's list is prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, followed by finance minister Anders Borg.

The third most powerful person in Sweden, according to Fokus, is newly installed Centre Party leader Annie Lööf, whose appointment ratcheted her up from 62nd place last year to make her the country's most powerful woman.

”One of the aims of publishing this list is to initiate a debate on 'what is power?', said Torbjörn Nilsson, political editor of Fokus Magazine to The Local.

Reading through the list, however, there are very few non-Swedish sounding names, and none from the top 100 are foreigners who have arrived in the country as an adult.

While Left Party MP Rosanna Dinamarca who occupies place 100, was born in Chile, she came to Sweden as a young child.

In addition, Angeles Bermudez-Svankvist, head of the National Employment Agency (Arbetsförmedlingen) was born in Mallorca, but has a Swedish mother and has lived in Sweden since she was a teenager.

Fokus's Nilsson offered up a couple of explanations as to why the magazine's list lacked foreigners.

”There are two possibilities, either there is something wrong with our system, which we don't claim to be in any way scientific, or it is in fact a reflection of what Sweden looks like,” said Nilsson.

”I would say, although I can't prove it in any way, that there are few people with a foreign background who hold these positions in Sweden,” he added.

In order to come up with the ranking, 300 names are initially selected, slimmed down to 200, after which they are reviewed by a panel of experts on Swedish politics and business.

After that, the 200 are graded on criteria such as media exposure, formal power, informal power, and extraordinary power. Finally, the 100 with the highest score are selected for the list.

One aspect that the selection committee did find surprising this year, was that the number of newcomers on the list was almost as high as last year.

In 2010, an election year, 43 new names entered the list.

Somewhat surprisingly, this year, the major changes within the Swedish political parties meant that a further 40 newcomers entered the top 100 most powerful people in Sweden.

Despite this, Reinfeldt and Borg nabbed the top two spots for the third year running.

And the 28-year-old Lööf, who is also minister for enterprise, kicked last year's number three, minister for education Jan Björklund, off his spot, while at the same time claiming her title as Sweden's most powerful woman.

”That Annie Lööf went straight in to spot number three was surprising to us, and she made that spot to a large degree because of the exposure in the media,” Nilsson said.

The second most powerful woman, also managing to squeeze into the top ten, is EU minister Birgitta Olsson.

The head of the Riksbank, Stefan Ingves, was the only non-politician within the top ten most powerful people in Sweden.

Crown princess Victoria lost her place at 17 in 2010 to place 29 this year, also attributed to less media coverage compared to last year.

The Royal wedding in 2010 meant a huge rise in media coverage for the crown princess, which this year's pregnancy revelation didn't quite manage to live up to.

In total, 29 out of the 100 most powerful people in Sweden in 2011 are women, one more than last year.

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Rebecca Martin (rebecca.martin@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:34 November 25, 2011 by Mark737408
So, who cares.
13:51 November 25, 2011 by bourgeoisieboheme
Well the most powerful are highly educated and connected so this removes maybe 95% of all foreigners.

But most of all, this is "Sweden's top 100 most powerful people" so why would a foreigner be listed? Check China's top 100, all Chinese. Check India's, Brazil's, Italy, Russia, etc. Same goes for almost every other country in the world so I don't see anything wrong with this.

To insinuate that something must be changed on this issue is in itself racist against Swedes. Hitler did the same when it was found in 1933 that the majority of doctors, lawyers, and bankers in Germany were Jewish. You saw what happened with that. So to suggest to change something because the powerful are of a certain race or nationality is a path none of us want to go down.
14:13 November 25, 2011 by Great Scott
I think the so called top 100 need to realise that it's the other 8,999,900 that are the most powerful in Sweden. Without them the so called top 100 would be what they really are nothing.
14:52 November 25, 2011 by Cornelius Hamelberg
It's an eye catching headline al-right, but why should it be expected that a foreigner should be one of Sweden's MOST POWERFUL?

Someone was expecting George Soros or Zlatan to top the list , maybe?
15:35 November 25, 2011 by me_i_sverige
we can arrange a one-on-one no-disqualification wrestling match between nr. 1 Reinfeldt and nr. 2 Borg to decide The Undisputed Powerful Person in Sweden.
16:14 November 25, 2011 by imbad005
just explains the mentality of this society...
17:46 November 25, 2011 by arslan11
Check the globally respected Forbes list of 70 most powerful people. There is not even a single Swede in it :) Rather not even a single Scandinavian. This is the bitter truth that most Swedes didn't understand. They don't have any impact on global politics. watch out list at this link

http://www.forbes.com/powerful-people/list/
18:39 November 25, 2011 by lovaspappa
You nice guys at The Local are gonna slap yourselves for this but....Is someone without a Swedish sounding name a foreigner? Until Sweden, and others, can get over this distinction, Sweden will remain the segregated place that it is. My daughter, half-african american but born and raised in Sweden with my name, would still be counted as a foreigner. That's just plain wrong no matter how tradition works. I know Sweden is new to multiculturalism and its associative terminology. But The Local should know better.
19:33 November 25, 2011 by bourgeoisieboheme
That last post was interesting in context. "My daughter, half-african american". You think swedes need to get over the fact someone of different race is not Swedish yet you still identify your daughter as "african-american" instead of just American?

Maybe the 8 million people in Sweden will move on when the 300 million Americans move on as well?
20:15 November 25, 2011 by Kaethar
And? I wouldn't expect any different. How would an immigrant who moved to Sweden as an adult become one of the top 100 most powerful people in Sweden? That would be an extreme rarity. Even in the USA it would be an extreme rarity - I can assure you that if a top 100 most powerful Americans list was made the vast majority would be American-born.

What would be more interesting is seeing how many of Sweden's most powerful have recent foreign ancestry. This is however not decided by having "a foreign name" - The Local should indeed know better. Such a figure would still be very low in Sweden due to how immigration is very new to Sweden. But it would on the other hand be an interesting study - unlike this one.
20:24 November 25, 2011 by muzammilh
@bourgeoisleboheme

what's wrong with being an african-american-swede?

there is a difference between being a "swedish citizen" and an "ethnic swede"

the problem is the top-100 list (despite issues of scientific validity) represents mostly ethic swedes

if the list reflected the contemporary ethnic diversity of sweden (contemporary = the year 2011, not some distant monocultural past), the disparity between those in power and those in society wouldn't be so obvious

walk through arlanda, look at the gigantic images on the walls celebrating swedish innovators. which ethnicities are celebrated as the cultural, economic, political contributors? then walk through any major swedish city. who else do you see? there is a disparity.

if we can agree on that reality, then we can move on to shaping some solutions. multiculturalism is not an option, it is global reality >> see canada, united states, india, brazil, china, south africa, egypt, united kingdom, france...etc
21:03 November 25, 2011 by Opinionfool
Um rather goes against an earlier The Local item from last week http://www.thelocal.se/37430/20111118/
21:27 November 25, 2011 by beeforsty
"There are two possibilities, either there is something wrong with our system, which we don't claim to be in any way scientific, or it is in fact a reflection of what Sweden looks like," said Nilsson.

Well I think is a reflection of what Sweden looks like, claiming to be a developed nation an acting like a third world country. The society did not recognized people with immigrants background no matter their contributions to it.

@bourgeoisieboheme "To insinuate that something must be changed on this issue is in itself racist against Swedes. Hitler did the same when it was found in 1933 that the majority of doctors, lawyers, and bankers in Germany were Jewish. You saw what happened with that. So to suggest to change something because the powerful are of a certain race or nationality is a path none of us want to go down." your comment sounded scary and sounded like you are a racist against non Swedes. I hope many Swedes did not think like you do if not ,then there is no difference between Sweden and Afghanistan......?
21:44 November 25, 2011 by lovaspappa
Trying to be subtle didn't work, I guess. My point was that my kid, being half black, will not be assumed to be a swede simply by her looks. In the eyes of the ethnic majority she is an immigrant. Folks may hate on black or white or asian or latin american folks in the US but no one doubts that they are American. Sweden isn't there yet and it informs how the society conducts itself. When Sweden is ready to look on my Swedish daughter and call her the Swede that she is, we will find the echelons of power more open to her and others. The expression African-American is used as a means of self-identification and empowerment. We were called other things before. But we are, as the suffix would suggest, Americans above all. As my kid is a Swede above all. Though she might disagree.
21:55 November 25, 2011 by beeforsty
@arslan11, How could a Swede be among 70 most influential figures in the world? if Steve Jobs is unfornate to be born in Sweden from a Syrian father he could not have ever created Apple and proud him self as Swede like the way he proud-ed himself as an American. Likewise Barack Obama, may be he could have being in one of the country side packing snow in winter instead of occupying the Oval Office..Wake up Swedes and open up your country more, because you cannot absorb the force of globalization, the sooner you realize that the better Sweden will become in terms of economic growth and development. Ethnic Swede are aging, you need to close the gap!!!
00:30 November 26, 2011 by sgt_doom
Are Wallenberg, the Bonnier family and Carl Bildt on the list????

Certainly, since they are all so hellbent in getting Wikileaks' Assange extradited to Goteborg, they must have some power.

Wasn't it Bildt who proclaimed, "We are all Norwegians now" -- when that psychotic killer murdered so many in Norway?

I wonder if Bildt ever muttered, "We are all Sudanese now" ..... or ... "We are all oil company directors now" --- when he was a director at Lundin Petroleum and all those massacres of the Sudanese took place (needed to move them off their oil-rich lands, don't you know?)?
01:04 November 26, 2011 by Uncle
"There are two possibilities, either there is something wrong with our system, which we don't claim to be in any way scientific, or it is in fact a reflection of what Sweden looks like," said Nilsson.

Why? WHY something is wrong? 50% of the immigrants are muslims, who in 50% are literally dug from the soil huts from 12th century. The other 50% are hard working small business owners who PHYSICALLY cannot see beyond their suppliers and customers, as well as loopholes in the tax laws. Out of these 50% are women who are living a life of a plant - get born, get inseminated, die. Their children are the same. This society looks as influential as their homelands look in the international arena.

As for the finns and germans who represent the other 40% of immigration - they are not even considered foreigners.

Why would foreigners, whose first and bright achievement is expansion and sophistication of penitentiary system in Sweden, would become "powerful"? It is a democracy. It all depends on the ability to convince and represent -Or should we set some communistic affirmative action for some imams to become party leaders according to the genius Mr. Nilsson?

The one foreign "politician" that I heard of in Sweden established anti-zionist party that invited islamists and nazis, as long as they are against Israel. That is creme-de-la-creme of foreigners.

Embarrassment for the contingent that infest Sweden, not the swedes.
01:27 November 26, 2011 by kinan
An immigrant in Sweden will always be considered an immigrant ! as long as both of your parents are not real white and blond swedes you have no chance to be called a swede !! Jesus ! and they speak about integration !

I left Sweden a week ago btw ;)
02:57 November 26, 2011 by Marc the Texan
I don't think anyone comes to Sweden with idea of becoming powerful. If you want power then Sweden is a poor choice. Going to Sweden to become powerful would be like going to East Timor to become a pop star. Achievable, yes. Noteworthy, not so much.
03:15 November 26, 2011 by PaulTheOctopus
Among Sweden's most poerful.. but the Queen Silvia is German immigrant.. but she's more like a symbol than i guess
06:08 November 26, 2011 by cattie
@bourgeoisleboheme

The is something you seem to intentionnally overlook about @lovaspappas post about his swedish child. My child is an American-Swede and is white, people assume he is a swede (even though he vigorously defends his american identity). He gets angry that people just assume he is swedish--because of his looks. I suppose one who is bi-racial but culturally swedish might be equally peeved that people assume that they are NOT swedish.
09:57 November 26, 2011 by shahislam
As long as no belief-blind narrow-minded guy is in there, no problem. Just becareful never to include a native or foreigner with imbalced state of minds with or without religious type sign-boards.
10:10 November 26, 2011 by RobinHood
Do i detect a note of envy amongst the sadder posters here. Surely not.
11:22 November 26, 2011 by beeforsty
@Uncle"Why? WHY something is wrong? 50% of the immigrants are muslims, who in 50% are literally dug from the soil huts from 12th century. The other 50% are hard working small business owners who PHYSICALLY cannot see beyond their suppliers and customers, as well as loopholes in the tax laws. Out of these 50% are women who are living a life of a plant - get born, get inseminated, die. Their children are the same. This society looks as influential as their homelands look in the international arena. "

This represent the average Swedish views about immigrants and Muslims, you are nothing more than a racist. Obama and Steve Jobs has both Muslims immigrants. There is no different between you and Braivik, I hope you will not gun down your native Swedes like what that killer have done in Norway. Muslims and multiculturalism have come to stay, what are you going to do about it?
11:36 November 26, 2011 by Uncle
"Muslims and multiculturalism have come to stay, what are you going to do about it?"

They not just came to stay, but to expand their style of living on this place. Islam MUST expand and convert whether by force or word and there is nothing to do about it. Multiculturalism is failing as many european leaders admitted.

Now, point at one non fact in what I wrote and prove my racism. Islam is a way of living (like nazism and communism) and has nothing to do with a race. It plunges countries into medieval times without any connection to a race or a nation. Malaysia is as failing country as Yemen and Algiers is as failing as Pakistan. On the other hand, muslim countries are very good with racial division of f.ex. black sunnis from the "aryan" shia. It is also very tolerant towards sexual minorities, women and "dhimmies".

As for your comparison with Breivik, I have got a much bigger magazine of Jihadist names who rip off heads of nuns and explode in kindergartens. Wanna start a competition on who has more comparisons to racists?
14:39 November 26, 2011 by Migga
@ kinan

If you left Sweden a week ago, why are you on here and commenting?
17:03 November 26, 2011 by kinan
@ Migga

It is a free country , is not it ? or at least they claim it to be !

It is my right to be on here and to comment .

If you can not even stand me being here online and commenting

on some article how would you ever accept me in your society !

I made the right decision by leaving :P

My respect to everyone .

( excluding you Migaa )
10:05 November 27, 2011 by ccb
Migga like many Swedes always come on here and say if you don't like it then leave. They see nothing wrong with their mindset in saying such a thing. Some of my Swedish friends in London complain about the issues in the UK and the difficulties yet it has never come to my mind or my British peers to say well if you don't like it then leave, and go back to your perfect Sweden. We encourage them and work on making it better for everyone. Having people with different cultures, abilities and talent is always good for the UK in my opinion. Xenophobia is a real issue in Sweden people need to come to grips with that and seriously address it. But I guess most think that Sweden has gotten along just fine without foreigners and will get along in the future without. I guess we shall see how that works out.
14:40 November 27, 2011 by kinan
@ ccb

I could not agree with you more mate !

Respect .
17:52 November 27, 2011 by deya
yes we should give power based on the most foreign sounding names and not based on whos most suitable for the job!
23:50 November 27, 2011 by Bushyblondehead
The few immigrants who are bad make it bad for all of them that are trying to do good, and makes for them trying to get ahead much harder, especially in a small country.
00:42 November 28, 2011 by Jannik
@ccb

"But I guess most think that Sweden has gotten along just fine without foreigners and will get along in the future without. I guess we shall see how that works out."

The swedes claiming this are of course right, but they on the other hand are a minority. The majority of swedes have voted for massimmigration and multiculturalism. And presently they are getting what they voted for.

On the practical side, not many swedes are willing to live up to the demands of the utopian diverse society. So this of course wont work out very well.

Multiculturalism will fail, just as it is failing every where else in the west. Simply because its based on a lie about what constitutes human nature.

So in the end it wont matter what people think about diversity. When things come crashing down, what will matter is the demographic shape the country is in. And its looking bleak for the future of Sweden.
05:17 November 28, 2011 by Migga
@ kinan

Wow, well you sure are disrespectful. I asked you an honest question why you still care about Sweden when you left it behind. You obviously care enough, either in a good or bad way, to come on here and make a comment. I never questiond your free rights to comment, I wanted to know why you made it. I do stand you and accept you. You seem to have an issue being questioned tho. I do respect every human, that`s more then you can say.

@ ccb

When did I say something like that? Find one of my posts where I say that. How dare you come with false accusations like that? Why do you feel the need to lie about something like that? Do you feel good to make up stuff about someone else to make your point?
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