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Gothenburg leader slams government defence cuts

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12:01 CEST+02:00

The Social Democrats' big name in Gothenburg, council leader Göran Johansson, is quitting the party's executive committee, reported Wednesday's Expressen.

Johansson is leaving his post among the party's top politicians in protest against the government's latest round of defence cuts, in which several bases in Gothenburg have been shut down.

"I have felt powerless. This is a one man show," said Johansson to the paper.

"Why should I go along to the meetings when whatever I say carries no weight?"

According to Expressen's sources, Johansson told the executive committee two weeks ago that he would no longer participate in the Social Democrat board meetings and that he would not be going along to the party congress.

"It feels as though I am letting down the people who have stood behind me. But at the same time it would be letting them down if I did not take this stance," he said.

In an interview with the paper, Johansson directed criticism at the Prime Minister Göran Persson for the way in which the defence cuts have been implemented.

"I didn't get to meet the Defence Minister. So I wanted to meet Göran Persson. That didn't happen either," he said.

Persson has not responded to Johansson's comments.

But the Social Democrat leader of Malmö council, Ilmar Reepalu, has offered his support to Johansson.

"As a councillor in a large city I feel that the government is very 'Mälardal-fixated'," he said, referring to the region around Stockholm.

"Almost all the ministers come from around there. The Stockholm region is taking over, so they don't have time to be so engaged with the rest of the country. Here in the south of Sweden, just like Göran Johansson in the west, we feel that we do not have enough attention given to our issues," said Reepalu to TT.

TT/The Local

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