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Third head rolls in Sweden Democrat crisis

Published: 16 Nov 2012 12:24 GMT+01:00
Updated: 16 Nov 2012 13:45 GMT+01:00

"I'm a bigger liability for my party board than an asset," Westling told the TT news agency.

He explained that he considered his future with the party on Friday, finally concluding to step down from his political responsibilities.

The footage which prompted Westling's decision has been published over the course of the week by the Expressen newspaper.

It shows leading party members Kent Ekeroth, Erik Almqvist as well as Westling, harassing a drunk man on the street and calling an intervening woman a "whore".

The scandal, dubbed SD-Gate by some in the press, has so far caused economic policy spokesman Almqvist to leave his post and justice policy spokesman Ekeroth to take a "break" and continues to dominate the Swedish media.

In addition, the incident has exposed a rift within the party, with some factions criticizing the way party leader Jimmie Åkesson has handled the crisis, with some experts arguing the incident could cause the party to split.

On Friday, Westling admitted he and the others in the film had acted inappropriately.

"I regret that I didn't see what was happening; that I didn't break it up sooner, that we didn't get out of there," he said in reference to the events captured on the controversial video.

"We behaved incorrectly, you can't behave like that. It's clear one has to accept the consequences for their actions; that's part of life as an adult."

Westling added, however, that he planned to remain an "active member" of the Sweden Democrats. While he doesn't have a seat in parliament, he has served as an alternate board member for the party in Stockholm as well as a member of the Sweden Democrats' foreign policy committee.

In a recent post on his own blog, Westling wrote about the situation for homeless people in Stockholm.

"Stockholm can't take responsibility for other country's homeless," he wrote in October.

Westling, 29, describes himself on the opinion website Newsmill as Catholic, nationalist, and an EU opponent.

A poll conducted by Novus for Sweden's TV4 in the wake of the scandal has found that 40 percent of Swedes have less confidence in the Sweden Democrats, while 33 percent said they had less confidence in Åkesson.

However, 64 percent of respondents who identified themselves as Sweden Democrat voters said the racist video scandal hasn't affected their view of the party, and 25 percent said the incident had actually increased their confidence for the Sweden Democrat leader and the party.

TT/The Local/dl

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Your comments about this article

12:51 November 16, 2012 by RobinHood
Young Jimmie seems to be handling this rather well. If only the other party leaders were as ruthless when they or their members get caught behaving badly.

Oh dear, please don't let it be that young Jimmie is quite a decent politician.
13:47 November 16, 2012 by G Kin
The truth is that the entire SD house is full of dirty, racially biased people. The only way to clean the party am afraid is to throw everyone out...

Only Jimmie might be lift if only he is any better.
14:30 November 16, 2012 by what would thomas paine do
1) Bravo to the press for exposing hypocrisy.

2) The State and the media have, however, regularly advocated that a *group* cannot be judged for the problem behavior of *individuals* within said group.

3) Can we, furthermore, expect the media to now apply this same level of critique and scrutiny to all groups (and individuals within said groups) who influence State policy?

4) The status of the arguer does not change the status of the argument. State-financed healthcare and the people who depend upon it have been sacrificed to finance State-funded immigration. Why is bigotry and abuse toward sick people acceptable while bigotry and abuse toward other groups is not?
19:00 November 16, 2012 by awash
who's next on the line:)))) hmm, only 3 comments for one of the juiciest news of the year??? nowhere to be seen those haters to defend their likes who were caught while their pants were down:-) karma is such a bitch... it is beyond me and really mind boggling how Sweden "Democrats" with these angelic looking boys reportedly becomes the 3rd largest party in the country.
19:01 November 16, 2012 by cowboykodp
As usual Sweden is 5 to 10 years behind the rest of the western world in everything.

All these racist, right wing extremist parties are loosing ground in the rest of the western world.

SD are simply the SCUM of the earth. If you support these parties you are a fool and the laughing stock of all civilized people.
19:01 November 16, 2012 by awash
who's next on the line:)))) hmm, only 3 comments for one of the juiciest news of the year??? nowhere to be seen those haters to defend their likes who were caught while their pants were down:-) karma is such a bitch... it is beyond me and really mind boggling how Sweden "Democrats" with these angelic looking boys reportedly becomes the 3rd largest party in the country.
19:58 November 16, 2012 by djmarko
The heavy hitters will not participate in this breaking news because the riff raffs that committed the crime are not immigrants, rest assured if this was the case, they will be out in full force, well the people that voted them in, hope they can see what types of humans being they are, if these scum are the ones representing you, well good luck, i wonder if these people have been outside Sweden to see that the world is becoming smaller, to me they just social retards!!! especially in the same week where Zlatan produced some heroics and is now the talk of the footballing world!!
22:53 November 16, 2012 by Swedish Cat
Hmmm so we are now saying ALL are the same because of some peoples misbehaviour. Wait a min, ,isn't that what we are accusing SD for? We all agree that it wasn't a nice behaviour... Reminded me very well of the uneducated immigrant behaviour. Whore, Svenne "babbe" etc. Why is it that we have to put up with that behaviour otherwise we r racist?
23:46 November 16, 2012 by vb74
The media has obviously blown this out of proportion.
08:27 November 17, 2012 by calebian22
I can't wait until I get to apply for citizenship early next year. SD has my vote. This may sound odd, but it shouldn't. The SD party is against people who come here and only take.
14:42 November 17, 2012 by rebelart.se
now i'm thinking that these sverige democrats have more accountability than those fkn social ones
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