'You won't get rid of me': Almqvist
Published: 31 Dec 2012 09:49 GMT+01:00
- Erik Almqvist quits parliament (30 Dec 12)
- Sweden Democrats in race-hate probe (20 Nov 12)
- Top Sweden Democrat quits after racist film (14 Nov 12)
Almqvist resigned as economic policy spokesman in November after a video emerged showing him and two other top Sweden Democrats involved in a drunken fight in Stockholm. They used racist and sexist language and armed themselves with iron bars.
On Sunday, Almqvist announced that he is giving up his parliamentary seat and his party membership. He explained the reasons for his resignation in a regretful an apologetic statement.
"This has been an incredibly difficult decision for me. I realize my behaviour that night 2.5 years ago has hurt the party as well as myself as a politician… I want to apologize to everyone who in different ways was affected by my behaviour. I wish my successor and the party the best of luck in the future," wrote Almqvist.
But on Twitter, the 30-year-old Almqvist took a different tone, indicating that his involvement in politics is far from over.
He tweeted: 'The fact that I'm leaving parliament doesn't mean you're getting rid of me if that's what you thought ;)'
Asked on Twitter about his plans for the future, Almqvist replied: 'I'm going to do the same thing I did before: rescue the country ;)
According to Sweden Democrat Party Secretary, Björn Söder, Almqvist does not have the right to claim a parliament pension since he had his seat for less than three years.
Instead, the company Samtid och framtid (meaning our age and the future) will hire Almqvist as a consultant.
The company is owned by the Sweden Democrat Party and plans to launch a media operation in 2013, including an online TV station and a web magazine.
According to Söder, a company owned by Almqvist will "set up the project's infrastructure", which will involve developing a business plan, handling recruitment and subscriptions.
"He will not be the publisher or editor, but will be working on the infrastructure", said Söder.
Söder had also told the TT news agency that the party leadership and Almqvist had come to a mutual agreement about his resignation, saying that neither would benefit from him remaining in parliament.
"He has realized that it would be difficult for him to focus on politics after all that has happened. I think he has taken a very responsible decision," Söder said.
Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson has said that the party has a "zero-tolerance" towards racism.
The video published in November by the newspaper Expressen shows Almqvist and his colleagues, Kent Ekeroth and Christian Westling, hurling racist abuse at comedian Soran Ismail and others.
The clips also show the three top politicians pushing a drunken man and a young woman, using words like "darkie" and "whore" and wielding iron bars.
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