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Arkelsten replaced as Moderate Party secretary

Arkelsten replaced as Moderate Party secretary

Published: 20 Apr 2012 11:59 GMT+02:00
Updated: 20 Apr 2012 16:11 GMT+02:00

The Moderates have named a local politician from Örebro to take over as party secretary from Sofia Arkelsten, who had only been on the post since October 2010.

Prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt announced at a Friday morning press conference that Kent Persson, who previously served on the local council in Örebro, would replace Arkelsten as the Moderates' party secretary.

"I'm happy and honoured by this assignment," Persson said.

"We're going to start our election campaign straight away."

According to Reinfeldt, Persson will be tasked with increasing the pace of the party's work in a new political atmosphere created in part by the new leadership of the Social Democrats, the Moderate Party's primary opponent.

"It's about working faster and smarter," the prime minister said.

Reinfeldt believes the Social Democrats have begun using the Moderates' rhetoric to describe what Sweden needs.

"That has also resulted in them achieving short-term gains in voter support. That's something I take seriously," he said.

Persson added that the Moderates need to be in a constant state of renewal in order to hold remain attractive to voters.

"It's basically about recognizing society's problems and dealing with them. That's something we do in spades by going out and listening to people," Persson told reporters.

"The most important question ahead of the 2014 election is jobs. The Moderates and the Alliance have won two election on the issue of jobs."

According to Reinfeldt, Arkelsten wanted "another direction" in her life, saying "we'll get back to that" when asked about what her new role in the party might be.

While Reinfeldt refused to speculate on a future role for Arkelsten, who wasn't present at the press conference, political analysts are bubbling with theories as to what may have brought about her hasty and unexpected departure.

"Arkelsten hasn't lived up to expectations," political scientist Jenny Madestam wrote in an analysis for Sveriges Television (SVT).

"[She] hasn't been deemed to have the capacity to charge up the Moderates to win an election."

Not soon after taking over as party secretary from political wunderkind Per Schlingmann following the Moderates' 2010 electoral success, Arkelsten, had to fend off allegations of corruption for accepting an all-expenses paid trip to the south of France from Dutch oil company Shell.

She has also been criticized for her misrepresenting the Moderates' role implementing the right to vote in Sweden.

In a message sent to friends and associates, Arkelsten said she was leaving her post because it was "time for change and renewal" in her life.

"It's been a really fun job; I'm proud of what we've done so far in terms or renewal and political development," she said.

"But I have my reasons and I'll get back to you later about the political stuff."

Persson, 41, is married and has two children and serves on the local council in Örebro municipality as well as on the Örebro County Council.

He has previously championed cooperation between the centre-right governing Alliance and the Green Party, something which he claims has worked well on a local level in Örebro, where the Moderates and Greens are both in opposition.

TT/The Local/dl

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Your comments about this article

13:00 April 20, 2012 by OUIJA
It took too long. She should have been dismissed the very next day she accepted her new well paid job. She is worse than the Roberta Alenius who holds the position as "press secretary" from King Kong Reinfeldt. My question: Why has she been not sacked? Answer: She knows too much about Reinfeldt's personal secrets and wheelings and dealings.

There are some more to fall flat on the floor, thanks to the good judgement shown by Reinfeldt throughout the years. We shall see what we shall see.
07:53 April 21, 2012 by Frobobbles
Too bad. I always liked her because she looks funny.
11:57 April 21, 2012 by Puffin
She seemed to be Moderaternas version of Juholt! and once the real Juholt had gone and was no longer the focus of media attention the changed political environment could not afford such a liability

Obviously it didn't help that she seemed to know nothing about the history of the party she was in charge of. Like the fact that she wrote a paper claiming that the party had been at the forefront of the fight for general voting rights when in fact they had opposed universal suffrage!! This caused dersion within the party

I would say that it also calls Reinfeldt's judgement into question as he seems to have a knack of choosing dubious people for key posts such as Borelius and Littorin
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