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Liberals slammed over Danielsson affair rumours

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11:00 CEST+02:00
Two Liberal Party politicians have been accused of spreading rumours on the Internet about Lars Danielsson, Göran Persson's closest aide.

According to the rumours, Danielsson lied about what he did on December 26th 2004, the day of the south Asian tsunami, in order to cover up an affair with Helen Eduards, a senior civil servant.

Now, Social Democrat party secretary Marita Ulvskog has demanded that Liberal leader Lars Leijonborg come clean.

Fokus magazine and tabloid Expressen have both reported that the rumours have been spread by a number of Alliance campaigners. On 17th February the Right Online blog wrote that Lars Danielsson had spent the 26th December together with Eduards instead of working, and implied they were having a relationship.

The blog is run by Johan Ingerö, a Liberal Party employee who works as a political secretary and an elected member of Stockholm County Council.

"I was irritated by the way the media works," he told Fokus.

"I got the information from tabloid people who knew, but didn't write," he told Fokus.

An almost identical post was made on the same day by a female member of the Liberal Youth Association. Expressen reported that the woman had also reported Danielsson to the Justice Ombudsman.

Marita Ulvskog said she was upset by the incidents.

"If it is true that this entire episode has come about because two Liberal politicians, one a county council politician, the other a parliamentary candidate, have planted these rumours on their blogs, and then one has chosen to report Lars Danielsson to the Justice Ombudsman on the grounds of what she herself has written on flimsy evidence, then it is incredibly serious," said Ulvskog.

"This is serious rumour-mongering and libel on the part of two politicians against two civil servants. They have been chased, and been put under hard pressure. I am working on the assumption that their lives have been deeply affected by the rumour-mongering of recent weeks."

Ulvskog is now demanding that Liberal leader Lars Leijonborg distance himself from defamation campaigns, and do everything he can to ensure that the Liberal Party and other parties do not use such methods during the election.

"It would make politics dirty in a way that would have far-reaching consequences."

She added that she expected Leijonborg to contact the two people who spread the rumours and ensure that they face the consequences of what they did. She also demanded that he ring Danielsson and Eduards and ask for an apology.

"This should happen very quickly," she said.

Blogs and other websites have long been speculating that Danielsson spent the day of the tsunami at Eduards' home, contrary to what he himself has said.

The rumours have picked up speed in recent weeks.

"Come on - everyone knows what Lars Danielsson really did on Boxing Day. Isn't it time for the major political media to write it explicitly?", Pintus Schultz, editor of Veckans Affärer, wrote on the business magazine's website.

Eduards fiercely rejected that there was any truth in the rumours, in an interview with Fokus.

"I am not having, and have never had, a love affair with Lars Danielsson. We have never had anything other than a strictly professional relationship."

She said she had no contact with Danielsson on the 26th December, and travelled to Turkey during the afternoon.

The controversy over Danielsson's role in the tsunami tragedy has been damaging to the Social Democrats, according to a number of the party's local chairmen, who spoke to TT.

"It is always damaging when things are being discussed that distract attention away from the policies themselves," said Sören Larsson, chairman of the Örebro County Social Democrats.

The Justice Ombudsman is currently investigating whether Lars Danielsson lied about his actions on 26th December 2004, when the tsunami happened. He told the official Swedish committee of inquiry into the disaster that he had spoken to senior foreign ministry official Hans Dahlgren three times on the day of the disaster. Dahlgren has denied that the calls ever took place.

After the commission's report in December 2005, Danielsson has expressed doubts about some of the information he gave to the commission.

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