Sweden’s leaders set for intense week on Gotland

Sweden’s politicians have left the mainland for Gotland where they will spend the week eating, drinking and hobnobbing with the media and lobbyists.

Once considered a great way for the county’s leaders to mingle with Swedes as they vacation, Almedalen week is running strong after more than 40 years. This week is host to numerous speeches, breakfast gatherings and other daily lectures.

The majority Social Democrats started the week on Sunday as Prime Minister Göran Persson took to the microphone and said the country’s economy was doing well.

Persson said Sweden’s economy was headed in the right direction and that sooner or later it would affect his party’s standing in the polls. He said the Alliance (the Moderate Party, Liberal Party, Christian Democrats, and Centre Party) have made a “terrible mistake” by proposing cuts that he says will hit the unemployed and people on sick pensions during a high growth period.

“They are heading toward election on questions that would have worked better in another time,” he said.

Persson also commented on the Alliance article in Dagens Nyheter on Sunday that pointed out the future costs for the country if the Left Party and the Green Party’s promises become reality.

“We have had a good partnership with the Green Party and the Left Party. They have been able to come to agreement on 18 budgets with us,” said Persson, who said he thought the article was strange.

He said the goal was a Social Democratic minority government in September, despite both the Green Party and the Left Party wanting cabinet seats.

Almedalsveckan will continue through July 8 with each day being headed by one particular party and a speech from its respective leader.

The Christian Democrats’ Göran Hagglund speaks on Monday at 7 p.m.

The Green Party’s Peter Eriksson and Maria Wetterstrand talk Tuesday at 7 p.m.

The Moderate Party’s Fredrik Reinfeldt speaks Wednesday at 7 p.m.

The Left Party’s Lars Ohly addresses the public on Thursday at 7 p.m.

The Liberal Party’s Lars Leijonborg speaks Friday at 7 p.m.

The Centre Party’s leader Maud Olofsson closes the week Saturday with a talk at 2 p.m.

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