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Reinfeldt and Löfven butt heads in first debate

Reinfeldt and Löfven butt heads in first debate

Published: 07 May 2012 08:14 GMT+02:00
Updated: 07 May 2012 08:14 GMT+02:00

Prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt squared off against Social Democratic leader Stefan Löfven for the first time during a spirited party leader debate in which the two sparred over unemployment and other issues.

Reinfeldt, head of the Moderate Party, started off by saying that he hoped youth unemployment would be one of the central issues leading up the 2014 parliamentary elections.

"Our ambition is to sharply reduce youth unemployment," the prime minister said in the opening moments of the debate, which was televised on Sveriges Television (SVT).

But Löfven, in his first face-to-face debate against the prime minister, was quick to go on the attack.

"All I can say is that the government has completely mishandled the issue," the Social Democrat head replied.

"You said that we had mass unemployment in 2006. Now unemployment is even higher. What do we call that now?"

According to Löfven, Sweden needs more pro-active business and innovation policies, as well as more training to help the unemployed find jobs.

But Reinfeldt dismissed the Social Democrats' plan to start an innovation policy council, arguing that Löfven believed jobs will be created by having people sit down and drink coffee.

"Stefan Löfven sounds like a copy machine when he goes through his proposals," Centre Party leader Annie Lööf said, slamming the Social Democrat head for an "unbelievably weak" spring budget proposal.

Lööf charged that most of the initiatives in the Social Democrats' proposal are ones the government has already implemented or is planning to implement.

When the issue of whether Sweden should take control over public schools away from local municipalities and return it to the state, the leaders from the Sweden Democrats, Left Party, and Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) raised their hands.

The debate also heated up over the issue of Swedish weapons exports, although not between the leaders of Sweden's two largest parties, the Moderates and the Social Democrats, who seemed to agree that exports should continue but that rules should be tightened.

But Left Party leaders Jonas Sjöstedt had a different view.

"We shouldn't have any weapons exports to countries involved in armed conflicts," he said, adding he couldn't understand how trade minister Ewa Björling was promoting Swedish arms to dictatorships like Saudi Arabia.

Liberal Party leader Jan Björklund and Christian Democrat head Göran Hägglund also wanted to see tighter rules for Swedish arms exports.

However, Sweden Democrat leader Jimme Åkesson warned that Sweden could lose thousands of jobs if weapons exports were halted altogether.

Following the debate, a number of analysts characterized the duel between Reinfeldt and Löfven as a draw.

"It was an unusually tough debate; it's almost surprising that there's not an election on Sunday," political scientist Magnus Hagevi from Linnaeus University told the TT news agency.

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Your comments about this article

09:18 May 7, 2012 by Stonebridge
"Butt heads"?

Who writes these awful headlines?
12:08 May 7, 2012 by Great Scott
"Reinfeldt, head of the Moderate Party, started off by saying that he hoped youth unemployment would be one of the central issues leading up the 2014 parliamentary elections."

Reinfeldt hopes, what sort of Politian is this. Sweden's unemployment is one of the highest in Europe and has increased at an alarming rate ever since Reinfeldt and the rest of the loony lot came to power. Of course it doesn't worry him as he is using phase 3 to his advantage. Phase 3 is where unemployed people are given to companies for free (where they work for nothing, a bit like slave labor) and then the companies are paid 5000sek (of tax payer's money) a month to have them.
13:12 May 7, 2012 by anonomouscoward
chack your facts at http://www.ekonomifakta.se/sv/ please.
13:58 May 7, 2012 by Cornelius Hamelberg
The Swedish model as a museum?

"Inside the museums, infinity goes up on trial".

This debate

http://svtplay.se/v/2794601/agenda/agenda__partiledardebatt__del_1

was something that political Sweden had been looking forward to, since under the new leadership the Social Democrats are once again the most popular single party in Sweden.

It was supposed to be a battle between the Fredrik the Great Moderate and the cool, calm and collected Supermetalman Stefan Löfven who commentators say is moving steadfastly and occupying more and more ground in the middle. Lööf was rather aggressive with her "copying machine" criticism of Superman but the one who threw some unexpectedly good punches was Jonas Sjöstedt. Last night he won a lot of women voters. Casanova couldn't have done any better.

I noticed General Jan Bkörklund our minister of education sort of grimacing & Göran Hägglund almost biting his lower lip and screwing up his face a little to register his disapproval from the moment that, true to form Jimmie Åkesson mentioned the word invandrare ( immigrant) and held up his piece of paper showing the red curve on his graph to illustrate the perils of uncontrolled immigration and the impact of such immigration on unemployment - a common sense argument which goes home - and not only to the rednecks.

Gustav Fridolin was impressive, took the moral high ground in a very reasonable manner about the export of Swedish weapons
20:12 May 9, 2012 by viennacalling
I just can't believe what I read sometimes

Jobs for Weapons to KILL People what a disgusting Person !

how about Creating Jobs in the Disalination water , BioMass Solar and Wind Farm industries

These Politicians are on the wrong path and indeed need a wake up call

the Voting papers from Now On should have a box at the bottom that says I vote for None of the Above and I request representation from decent members of Society
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