Young Social Democrats demand leader’s resignation

Twenty eight members of the Young Social Democrats (SSU) have written a letter to Dagens Nyehter demanding the resignation of their chairman.

They say they have lost faith in Ardalan Shekarabi, who is accused of using the money from the organisation’s funds to sponsor his leadership campaign.

“After money from the organisation was used to operate Ardalan’s chairman campaign instead of being used for other activities, we feel that it is very difficult to trust a person like him,” said Emma Lidell, chairwoman for the SSU in Örebro, to Swedish Radio on Friday.

Before the leadership election in 2003 Shekarabi had access to 76,000 kronor in an SSU account. This money was earmarked for “integration work” but Shekarabi’s supporters within the organisation allegedly used the money to finance his own campaign.

An internal enquiry carried out last week came to nothing, after everyone involved appeared to blame each other. Unable, therefore, to identify any guilty parties, the investigator merely concluded that Shekarabi had acted “inappropriately”.

But in an interview with DN on Saturday, Shekarabi said that the mistake he committed by using a secret campaign account is now being used against him because of internal conflicts. He says that one of the organisation’s wings has never supported him and even proposed that he “fought for things that were never established as goals during our congresses”.

He said he is deeply sorry for not checking where the money came from, but the whole story cannot be used to change the organisation’s policy.

“I will not resign, I still have a lot to give if the congress will choose me again in the summer,” said Shekarabi to DN.

The scandal has not yet reached the authorities, but members of the organisation are asking LO, The Swedish Trade Union Confederation, and the Social Democratic party to intervene if Ardalan Shekarabi does not resign voluntarily.

But the Social Democrats have decided that SSU will have to resolve this one on their own.

“SSU is an independent organisation. Those in charge have made decisions and some are not pleased with it, but it was the majority’s decision,” said Håkan Juholt, vice-secretary for the Social Democratic party.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, SR, Upsala Nya Tidning