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Obama win has Swedish politicians smiling

Obama win has Swedish politicians smiling

Published: 07 Nov 2012 09:50 GMT+01:00
Updated: 07 Nov 2012 09:50 GMT+01:00

Leading politicians in Sweden of all political stripes rejoiced early Wednesday morning over the re-election of US president Barack Obama, but cautioned he has a tough road ahead.

"I'm happy that Obama got re-elected," Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag of the Liberal Party told The Local.

"I was quite surprised [Obama was declared the winner so early]. If you'd asked me two weeks ago, I would have bet on Romney."

Obama had a slim 50 percent to 48 percent edge over Republican challenger Mitt Romney in the popular vote, but is projected to gain a decisive 303-206 victory in the all-important tally of electoral college votes.

Ullenhag was among several hundred attendees at an event organized by the US Embassy at a hotel in central Stockhlom, which was attended by several government ministers and MPs.

US ambassador Mark Brzezinski, who has served as Obama's envoy in Stockholm since October 2011, couldn't help but savour the moment that all but ensured his tenure in Stockholm would continue.

"Four years ago, I never would have imagined that I'd be here in Stockholm celebrating the US election," he told the assembled guests to rounds of applause shortly after Obama had been declared victorious by several US television networks.

"It is awesome to share this with our Swedish friends and our diplomat friends."

CLICK HERE FOR STOCKHOLMERS' REACTIONS TO THE RESULT

Social Democrat MP Thomas Östros, his party's former economic policy spokesman, also hailed Obama's re-election, calling it "well-deserved".

"It has been a tremendously difficult time with the economic downturn. It's going to be interesting to see what he can do with four years in a better economic environment," he told The Local.

Östros said Swedes and Europeans would likely react positively to Obama's second term in the White House, in part because of the values he represents.

"I think the election result when it comes to values is very important for Europe," he said.

"We've had an offensive period from right-wing conservatives and they have been defeated, and that will influence Europe; to see that modern values are winning in the US means a lot in Europe."

While Östros acknowledged that Obama will have a tough time addressing the Unites States' fiscal challenges, he expressed optimism that Americans' can-do spirit will prevail.

"I think it will be solved because Americans solve these sorts of issues. Late, perhaps, but they do do it," he said.

"Perhaps after this defeat there will also be some Republicans who are willing to be more reasonable."

Speaking on Sveriges Television (SVT), Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt also touched on the economic challenges facing Obama in his second term.

"They have a huge debt and huge deficit. How they manage it will affect demand. This is a country that accounts for 20 percent of the world's demands for exports and it will affect China and Europe, and therefore Sweden," he said.

Reinfeldt also praised Obama for running a successful re-election campaign.

"He's been re-elected and has run a good and inclusive campaign. The Democrats are better at speaking to the whole of the United States," he said.

Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven, meanwhile, hoped that the Democrats could afford to "have a real party" to celebrate the Obama win.

"When you look at Obama's campaign, you see there is a belief that politics and not just the market can make a difference," he told SVT.

Social Democrats also mentioned hopes that Obama would be more active in foreign policy, with Löfven saying he was "disappointed" with how the US president's Middle East policy during his first term.

Östros echoed similar sentiments.

"I hope that Obama can be a little bit bolder in foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East, now that he doesn't have to be worried about re-election," Östros told The Local.

Green Party spokeswoman Åsa Romson was also buoyant in her reaction to Obama's win.

"It's great news," she said in a statement.

"Barack Obama stands for a modern view on issues such as women's rights, migration, and security policy. He's a better representative for the diverse society that the United States is today."

Romson however expressed regret that climate issues were prioritized by Obama during his first term, urging him to "live up to the high expectations and take responsibility" for addressing global climate challenges.

David Landes

Follow David Landes on Twitter

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:42 November 7, 2012 by Eric1
The American Dream is now a nightmare.
13:26 November 7, 2012 by djmarko
The american dream is a nightmare because someone favourite candidate was beaten like a horse!! can understand how republicans are feeling today, They had high hopes of seeing a serial tax dodger in the white house, could not even give his home state ,his vice-president candidate to the republicans, terrible politicians if you ask me, hope they go back to the stone age they crawled out from!!! sorry meant mormon!!!
13:43 November 7, 2012 by Roy E
I thought the American people had more common sense that that. Doubling down performance of the past four years makes for pretty grim economic outlook .

That, couples with the hardened divisions in the society ensure that a very rocky road lies ahead for the US and its friends.
15:14 November 7, 2012 by johnny1939
I am not a republican but I wish Obama all the bad luck in the world. Yes, I know that I am nasty but this is the way I feel for the moment. Oh we'll....
16:16 November 7, 2012 by JulieLou40
I'd love to know how this is Swedish news?
17:00 November 7, 2012 by Emerentia
@ JulieLou40 Did you read the article? It's about what _Swedish_ politicians think of the election. How could that be anything other that Swedish news? I don't think media in other countries care about what Ullenhag, Östros, Löfven, Reinfeldt or Romson think, they don't even know who they are, I presume.
17:10 November 7, 2012 by respect4ALL
@eric1, i don't know how wise you are than the 40+ millions who voted for him. they r Americans and they have bigger dreams than yours. and @johnny how will that help you? or you must be out of words. well said @DJ. @Julie sweden is learning from America and so has to follow every step america makes or obama makes.

To all Americans,Obama is the best present to Americans who struggled to figure out who will suit best to their needs. he actually had tough 4 years but to me the hard part is over and it's only giving 100% attention to economy that is remaining, which he can handle it with little support from stubborn and negative Republicans. i hope Obama struck a deal with Iran and the middle east at large.

surprise, i aint American but but it's a dreamland for me.
18:40 November 7, 2012 by Iraniboy
Isn't it strange that Romney's support is 4% in Sweden and less than 50% in the US yet 90% here in thelocal.se post section? Are you guys hired or something?
18:45 November 7, 2012 by k2kats
Thank you! At least 50% of the US electorate (including me) is smiling too!
18:55 November 7, 2012 by Iraniboy
Well, of course! Swedish political parties may be different by many factors but when it comes to bigotry, backwardness, abortion, gay rights, rights of minorities etc, they have the same stance!!!
20:12 November 7, 2012 by sgt_doom
The object of rejoicing should be the fact that America now has 19 woman senators (some female voters in Indiana, Missouri and Wisconsin evidently finally retracted their heads from their posteriors and voted correctly for a change!).

Either Romney (private bankster, leveraged buyout thief) or Obama, America still is beset with Wall Street's lackey:

http://www.businessinsider.com/us-crashes-out-of-the-top-10-in-world-prosperity-index-2012-11

(I suspect Swedish politicians are happy 'cause they still want to extradite Wikileaks' Assange for the USA.)
21:42 November 7, 2012 by johan rebel
"Leading politicians in Sweden . . . cautioned he has a tough road ahead"

Oh oh, I sure hope Obama has the sense to listen to all that sage advice from Swedish politicians! Where would he be without them?
10:02 November 8, 2012 by Lemon1987
13:43 November 7, 2012 by Roy E

"I thought the American people had more common sense that that. Doubling down performance of the past four years makes for pretty grim economic outlook ."

Obviously there was another option how to beat Obama. Maby next time they should opt for Ron Paul as a great republican oponent candidate not that mor(o)mon Romney.
13:29 November 9, 2012 by alecLoTh
These are the same problems as last term. Obama needs to learn from those mistakes and use Senate control to push through reform. The Dems lost a lot of inertia last term 'reaching across the isle'. Stop being so soft. 4 years of that didn't work.

It's time to man up and act!! The Republicans would be pushing whatever nonsensical bill they could pass with or without Democrats overall consent.

It's time to play politics, not nice guy again.

Yes, I understand that most financial bills would have to pass through the House and the Republicans would do their utmost to block them - but there is a 'sink or swim' instinct for next primaries that could get some Republicans to think outside the box.

The real issue is that there is only 2 parties. There ought to be 4 maybe 5 equally matched parties to represent the diverse nature of the country - that way everyone gets what they want by compromise.

As it is, no matter what Obama does, he will inevitably alienate or dissatisfy half the populace.
17:31 November 9, 2012 by madmike
"Yes, I understand that most financial bills would have to pass through the House and the Republicans would do their utmost to block them - but there is a 'sink or swim' instinct for next primaries that could get some Republicans to think outside the box."

Do you think there is any chance of getting a few democrats to think outside the big government/socialist box? NOT!!!

A question for all you socialist deep thinkers. What is it about the nanny state/socialism/communism that leads to cultural suicide? If it such a good thing for the state to care for you from cradle to grave, why are the European birth rates so low? Native birth rates below replacement leads to cultural extinction. In Europe, the process is being exacerbated by the invasion of the fast breeding, Muslim hoards.
19:35 November 9, 2012 by feathernoodle
Obama had control of the house and the white house the first two years of his presidency and still did very poorly. The only reason the republicans don't 100% support his ideas is because he is trying to take the country in a direction that no everyone agrees with. there needs to be compromise on BOTH sides and democrats will not compromise. they threaten and if that doesn't work, obama just writes and executive order and does what he wants anyway, no matter what the democrats, republicans or anyone else says.

i'm not a republican but I can see that his last four years were not good for america and i don't hold a lot of hope for the next four years either with the attitude his people have.
23:44 November 16, 2012 by vb74
@ feathernoodle I completely agree. I'm an independant but I can understand why so many people are disappointed with obama. He has proven to be a completely ineffective leader and I don't see the next four years being any better.
13:48 November 18, 2012 by shahislam
Nov 18, 2012

at 7:06 AM November 18, 2012

I know some human fingers were remotely controllingmy posting of the following in Bangladeshi Newspapers.

That is too unscrupulous old style manipulations of mankind benefiting positive attemps of honest and good guys.

However, I succeeded minutes ago in posting @ Washington post and hope the same here in LA Times.

Not only Israeli heads but hot tempered leaders of other side too is to be blamed for these stupid bloodshedding events. Wise, non-violent minded leaders like: Obama, it's an open secret, that they (including humanitarian and peaceful minded people) can do nothing but share blames of supporting high-tech partners of Semitic origin such as businessmen of Israel.

It proves that Media is still in the grip of unscrupulously wealthy thugs. People often die in thousands of head counts in some part of the world as a result of human Brutality or Natural disaster. (e.g. USA, Bangladesh, Srilanka, Nigeria, Arabia, South-Africa etc.) and no outcry even in the cases of inhuman Saudi-Arabian type beheading atrocity.

And sometimes death of only one hundred becomes too a big deal like WW3.

e.g. 50 semites die in retaliation of the death of 1 single terrorist of semitic origin and all the top media get flooded with news, images and pictures in ways to brainwash ordinary folks with the impression of a exploded hell that even never ever exist in the cosmos.

Dumb practice but who cares for that in this rapid communication era, where real fact is quickly learned by every wise global folks elsewhere?

Use of common sense is now better than the judgments of old style warlords and a few nards with impractical knowledge based on lones of memorized words of stinky law books of outdated and old ideologies.
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