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Lööf has 'lost credibility' over polygamy claims

Lööf has 'lost credibility' over polygamy claims

Published: 10 Jan 2013 17:54 GMT+01:00
Updated: 10 Jan 2013 17:54 GMT+01:00

Experts say that Centre Party leader Annie Lööf, who on Thursday attempted to quell internal party dissent about a number of controversial new proposals, had "lost credibility" over statements regarding her stance on polygamy.

"She showed poor political acumen by not managing to foresee the storm the platform would create," political scientist and social democrat Ulf Bjereld told the TT news agency.

Lööf was forced to cut short her holiday in Thailand on Wednesday in order to return to Sweden to deal with an ongoing crisis stemming from opposition to the Centre Party's new platform, set to be presented at the party's conference on February 5th.

After arriving in Sweden on Thursday, she held a telephone conference call with dozens of party members, and despite reiterating her desire to jettison proposals legalizing polygamy and inheritance rights, Lööf was unable to sway all of her disgruntled colleagues.

"It's not enough," Hans Lindqvist, Centre Party group leader from the Stockholm County Council, told the TT news agency of Lööf's remarks.

"The sections about a smaller state must be removed and the programme must be rewritten from the ground up."

Speaking with Sveriges Radio (SR) after the conference call, Lööf said she welcomed the ongoing debate about the party's proposals.

"When I started as party leader, I said the Centre Party's ideas should drive the debate in Sweden. I think it's good that the debate has been so lively," she said.

Lööf promised that she and the party executive board would put forward a revised proposal that is "purified of what's in there now", emphasizing the importance of classic Centre Party principals such as the environment, decentralization, and social responsibility.

"We're going to listen to our inner Centre Party soul and correct some parts and add other things," she told reporters.

Among the Lööf's Centre Party critics is foreign policy spokeswoman Kerstin Lundgren who slammed the party platform in an opinion piece published in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) on Thursday as being infused with principals that would lead to a social Darwinist society.

Lööf also came under fire for claims she had never supported polygamy after it emerged she had come out in support of it in 2006 as vice chair of the Centre Party youth wing.

"I don't think the state and laws should determine who and with whom my neighbours or I want to live," she wrote in a blog post at the time, according to SR.

"If my neighbour wants to marry two men, I wouldn't move or care. That's his or her choice."

Speaking with Sveriges Television (SVT) on Thursday, Lööf said she had expressed herself clumsily when claiming she had never supported polygamy, explaining the blog post "was written ages ago".

Bjereld said Lööf's standing as party leader has likely suffered, however.

"It's especially unfortunate that Annie Lööf publicly denied having earlier been a supporter of polygamy...By twisting the truth, she strengthened the image that she is an unclear politician and her personal credibility has been undermined," he told TT.

K-G Bergström, political commentator for the Expressen newspaper, said Lööf's decision to cut her holiday short showed she "didn't have things under control".

TT/The Local/dl

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Your comments about this article

18:31 January 10, 2013 by thecritic
No surprise about these lunatics there, but what surprise is that their party is a partner of the current government. That makes you wonder who are these lunatics are represent anyway?
20:18 January 10, 2013 by Svensksmith
"That makes you wonder who are these lunatics are representing anyway?"

Mormons or Muslims?
20:55 January 10, 2013 by NyDag
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
21:02 January 10, 2013 by johan rebel
What credibility exaclty has she lost? Never new she had any.

Having said that, I do agree that any one person should be permitted to marry any number of other persons of any sex. Why should I care? How they sort out inheritance and other issues is their problem, not mine.
21:22 January 10, 2013 by intrepidfox
It would be interesting how she felt if her poor husband had a few extra wives
21:49 January 10, 2013 by jvtx3232
Didn't the Center Party recently call for a goal of having a population in Sweden of at least 40 million people in the near future, made up primarily of foreigners? Why does the Center Party hate Sweden?
02:28 January 11, 2013 by swedepotato
What if all Mrs. Lööf ever wanted to do was denounce (what she considers) excessive government interference with people´s life choices? Anyway she's probably too radical for smug cosy Sweden.
09:05 January 11, 2013 by Kevin Harris
All parties have extremists who seek opportunities to hijack the party agenda and insert into the manifest whatever crazy idea they are obsessed with. In most countries these people are sidelined and quietly, or even publicly ridiculed by the mainstream party members who are usually far more in harmony with the general population.

Sweden's inclusive tolerant culture makes it much easier for extremists to have their day, because party leaders and other members respect these crazies right to speak, and listen politely to their madness. The press do not help, ignoring whatever the party leadership have to say, but amplifying the mindless rants of some obscure member representing Smalltown South, and presenting them to the public as party policy.

Annie has messed this up. Next time some party crackpot opens his/her mouth about polygamous marriage, or unrestricted immigration, she needs to put a stop to it chop chop. Then she might be able to enjoy her holiday in Thailand uninterrupted by this nonsense.
09:48 January 11, 2013 by Cornelius Hamelberg
The party is in dire straits The new Centre agenda when finalized , is calculated to harvest votes.

There's early Annie ( 2006) and later Annie the leader of the Centre Party.

The hullabaloo is about Lööf flip-flopping about polygamy. There is what she said/ wrote some years ago and there's her more mature position today. In my opinion she has a right to change her mind - to develop her ideas - to even move from left to right. - like David Horowitz....That doesn't mean that she's inconsistent - it can only mean that she has moved forward. However it must be impossible for her to affirm that she has never been pro-polygamy and expect to be believed when her own earlier statements, clearly contradict her..
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