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NEW SOCIAL DEMOCRAT LEADER
Löfven 'proud and happy' to take party's top job

Löfven 'proud and happy' to take party's top job

Published: 26 Jan 2012 16:02 GMT+01:00
Updated: 26 Jan 2012 17:14 GMT+01:00

The Social Democrats used a hastily scheduled Thursday press conference to officially unveil IF Metall union chief Stefan Löfven as the party executive committee's consensus choice to take over as party chair.

“We plan to propose that the party's governing board choose Stefan Löfven to be the new party chair,” party secretary Carin Jämtin told reporters.

“I'm very proud and happy about it.”

She explained that the party's executive committee came to its decision after concluding that having a social democratic heart and leadership skills were of primary importance.

"We are in a rush and we need a talented and competent party leader. The reason is simple: we have to start building up (voters') trust in the party and staking out our policies now," said Jämtin.

"It can't wait, not when opinion poll numbers are so low and the next election (in 2014) is approaching ever faster."

The 55-year-old union leader, who has never before held elected political office, said he was ready to take the Social Democrats forward.

“When I look out at Sweden today I see that we need significantly more social democratic policies,” he told reporters.

“I'm very proud and happy to be the executive committee's candidate for the job of party chair. For me, it's also important that our party continue working together.”

He described as a “strong team”, the group of people who will now take over leadership of the party and help push the Social Democrats into the future.

Recently departed party leader Håkan Juholt said he has complete faith in his newly named successor.

“I'm very happy, thankful, and relieved that Stefan Löfven is ready to shoulder the responsibility for the party at a difficult time for us social democrats,” Juholt told TT in a text message.

According to Juholt, Löfven is a “strong representative for social democracy's highly successful model built on grown and solidarity”.

“It's important that the new party chair now get the support and confidence he needs to successfully uphold the ideas and policies of social democracy and to lead us back to power in government by the 2014 election at the latest,” said Juholt.

Other party stalwarts were also quick to praise the choice of Löfven.

“I think it's a really good choice, if I'm allowed to review my own work,” executive committee member Leif Pagrotsky told TT.

“I know him; he's stable, he has sound judgment, and I think he's the right name for renewing the Social Democrats.”

Pagrotsky added, however, that it was difficult to convince Löfven to take the job.

Former prime minister Ingvar Carlsson also sung Löfven's praises in a statement released Thursday afternoon, citing the union leader's “immense knowledge and engagement on international issues”.

“Stefan Löfven isn't only an experienced and courageous union leader. He has broad political competence. I'm convinced that with him leading the way, social democracy is going to play an increasingly important political role in Sweden and even in Europe and the rest of the world.”

While Löfven has been presented as the executive committee's nomination to be party leader, he won't officially take over as the head of the Social Democrats until his nomination is approved by the party's governing board, which is expected to meet on Friday to approve the nomination.

The once-dominant party has seen its popularity fall to record lows below 30 percent in recent polls, after more than five years in opposition where it has struggled to make an impact on voters.

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, who heads a centre-right coalition government, has meanwhile succeeded in shifting his conservative Moderate Party towards the middle, taking over some of the traditional Social Democratic rhetoric -- and its voters.

Reinfeldt campaigned successfully in 2006 on his Moderates being the "new" workers' party as he aimed to get Swedes' back to work amid high numbers of people living off benefits in a cradle-to-grave welfare state created by the Social Democrats.

A recent editorial in Sweden's paper of reference Dagens Nyheter said: "We are witnessing the end of the (Social Democratic) party's hegemonic power."

The party's "influence has been more than just the governmental power. The party has decided how we think."

But in recent years "the Social Democratic welfare ideology (that has characterised Sweden for so long) has been rolled back in favour of privatizations, individualism, EU membership and globalisation," it said, questioning whether the party would be able to successfully renew itself.

Reinfeldt won re-election in 2010, while the Social Democrats turned in their worst election results in nearly a century.

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

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Your comments about this article

20:11 January 26, 2012 by krattan
With less and less factory workers in Sweden I think this is a bad choice. S needs to appeal to the urban "middle class" if they wan't to attract the majority of votes again. And you won't do that with a man from the metal industry.
20:33 January 26, 2012 by Social Hypocrisy
You want to know where this guys politics are comming from.

Its the politics of them vs us.... immigrants vs swedes

Like I have said before... Social Democrats real politics seem to be this:

'Everyone is equal... but some are more equal than others'

Read below:

Sverigedemokraterna andra största parti inom LO

Moderaterna ökar från 28 procent till 32,8 procent under andra veckan. Sverigedemokraterna ökar till 7,4 procent under andra veckan. SD stärker sig framförallt bland LO-medlemmar där SD nu är andra största parti inom LO.

Oktobers väljarbarometer löper över en exceptionell period i politiken

Den första veckan präglas av socialdemokraternas budgetmotion. Den kom att mottas positivt bland många väljare. S gick fram till 35 procent: Framförallt ökade man i storstäderna. En orsak till detta kan vara att den för storstäderna symboliska frågan om rutavdraget som i stort fick vara kvar samt att inkomstskatterna inte ökade för de allra flesta.

Övriga förslag som höjning av sjukersättning och höjda ersättningar i a-kassan tillsammans med sänkt avgift till a-kassan gjorde att man kände igen socialdemokraterna utan att det fick för väljarna negativa konsekvenser. De tidigare hoten mot storstadsväljarna från valrörelsen om införandet av fastighetsskatt hade socialdemokraterna redan tidigare fått bort från agendan.

De dramatiska händelserna i politiken döljer de fortsatta problemen för

Centerpartiet och Kristdemokraterna och därmed också för hela alliansen.

Mätmässigt skall man betänka att dessa händelser är exceptionella och därför inte behöver vara långsiktiga. Den viktiga analysen är därför att se hur väljarna reagerar på dessa händelser men de utgör knappast någon grund för långsiktig politiska analyser. När det händer mycket kan det också ske snabba förändringar.

Toivo Sjörén, ansvarig för TNS SIFOs opinionsundersökningar.

http://www.tns-sifo.se/nyheter-och-press/vaeljarbarometern-oktober-2011
21:34 January 26, 2012 by diegoveggie
socialists seem to pick douchbags. its a habit
09:25 January 27, 2012 by bells on the knight
they've done it again... like a bad clip out of a gangster movie in new jersey. imagine this dude mingling with presidents and PM's all over the world.... does he expect them to understand swedish? I bet his linguistic skills are nowhere near from those of olof palme.
07:24 January 28, 2012 by SimonDMontfort
"Löfven 'proud and happy' to take party's top job"

He would say that wouldn't he? (with apologies to Mandy ~Rice Davies)
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