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Sweden Democrat lived off benefits

Published: 20 Dec 2012 07:36 GMT+01:00

Swedish authorities said in 1997 that Johnny Skalin, who is now 34, was suffering from a mental disorder that prevented him from carrying out his duties in a hotdog stand where he was employed at the time.

It was then that he began receiving disability benefits, local newspaper Sundsvalls Tidning wrote.

Ten years later, he told the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) that he suffered from extreme tiredness and needed up to two days of rest after working a four-hour shift.

However, that same year he became the head of the Sweden Democrat local chapter in the northeastern town of Sundsvall. "It was naturally a lot of work," Skalin told the same newspaper.

Skalin also began to study sociology, and went on to co-author a party platform that helped the Sweden Democrats get into parliament in the 2010 election, when it got 5.7 percent of the vote and won 20 seats in the Swedish Riksdag.

Two months into the job as an MP, he told authorities that he no longer needed any benefits for his mental disability.

"If I used the system in any way, it's because I had a reason to do so. I shouldn't have to defend it," Skalin told Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet.

Party spokesperson Martin Kinnunen leapt to his defence, and accused media of "quite strange" behaviour for reporting on a private health matter.

The party's website states that the 10 percent employment gap between Swedish immigrants and ethnic Swedes is "a great cost and a burden on society."

A recent poll by Statistics Sweden put the party's support at around 8 percent. The boost comes amid a spate of layoffs in Swedish industry, as the country feels the effects of the European debt crisis.

AFP/The Local/at

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Your comments about this article

10:03 December 20, 2012 by findlaw2000
Seemingly with split personality ! Absolutely ridiculous !
12:55 December 20, 2012 by johan rebel
Many, if not most, Swedish politicians have not done a single honest day's work in their entire life. Instead of finishing high school or getting a degree they join a parrty youth league and blather and elbow their way into a position of power, from which they as often as not retire early at the taxpayers' expense.
13:36 December 20, 2012 by engagebrain
"If I used the system in any way, it's because I had a reason to do so. I shouldn't have to defend it,"

Skalin told Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet

Exactly what every idle dosser would say.

Too tired to work but not too tired to organise his political party - seems like he defrauded all the honest tax payers.
14:46 December 20, 2012 by fareasttiger
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
15:19 December 20, 2012 by engagebrain
fareasttiger - the article suggests that the lad claimed not to be able to work because of a rather tenuous disability, a disabilty that cleared up once his hard work had paid off and he was a member of parliament.

He is perfectly entitled to complain about anything, but to complain about people ripping of the benefits system when he appears to have been exploting the system is hypocracy. I guess if/when he looses his status as an MP it will be back to benefits.
15:20 December 20, 2012 by Svensksmith
Look up hypocrite in the dictionary. This clown's picture should be there.
16:33 December 20, 2012 by fareasttiger
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
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