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Sweden Democrat wins Deputy Speaker spot

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Björn Söder. Photo: TT
16:49 CEST+02:00
Despite most Members of Parliament abstaining from voting, Sweden Democrat party secretary Björn Söder has been announced as one of Sweden's new Deputy Speakers.
292 of Sweden's 349 MPs handed in blank ballot papers.
 
But all members of Björn Söder's nationalist party the Sweden Democrats, who became the country's third-largest party in elections earlier this month, voted to give him the prestigious job.
 
This initially wasn't enough for him to snag the position, because Swedish law states that a candidate needs to secure a majority of votes from Parliament.
 
However, after two re-votes the candidate with the most votes can win the spot and this happened on Monday afternoon.
 
Söder told The Local shortly after Sweden's national election earlier this month, that his party was yearning for a Deputy Speaker post after the Sweden Democrats enjoyed a two-fold surge in support and 12.9 percent of the country's votes.
 
 
 
There have been a number of recent scandals involving the Sweden Democrats, including one candidate who was caught on camera wearing a Nazi swastika armband and another who took a selfie of himself dressed as Hitler.
 
Left Party Leader Jonas Sjöstedt  said he was appalled by the fact Söder had become a Deputy Speaker.
 
"This is a person who has made a number of homophobic and racist statements in the past," he told the TT news agency.
 
"I think it's completely unsuitable to have a speaker like him."
 
Söder responded that he "wasn't surprised" to hear the Left Party had attacked him.
 
He added, however, that he planned to be "much more careful" with his postings on social media. 
 
A handful of the votes of support came from other parties besides the Sweden Democrats, the TT news agency reported. 
 

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The other two Deputy Speakers are Tobias Billström from the Moderates and Esabelle Dingizian from the Green Party.
 
Social Democrat politician Urban Ahlin was announced as the main Speaker earlier on Monday, despite strong rumours that it would go to Suzanne Eberstein.
 
Sweden's incoming Prime Minister Stefan Löfven is set to reveal his top team of ministers on Friday.
 

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