Wallström ‘honoured’ by leadership support

Sweden’s European Union commissioner Margot Wallström is emerging as the popular choice to take over the helm of the floundering Social Democrats after its leader, Prime Minister Göran Persson, steps down in March.

According to an Aftonbladet-Sifo poll, 43 percent of people want her to lead the Social Democrats into the 2010 election against Reinfeldt.

Already now, months away from the party’s congress in March, members are already letting it be known that they want a woman to lead.

Wallström has said she appreciates the trust many are showing in her, but that she will most likely continue her work in Brussels

Reporters waited and waited for Wallström to leave her work building in Brussels on Monday, hoping to get her thoughts on her taking over Party leadership.

After hours of hiding, a press secretary came down and said, “For her, it is 2009 that counts. Margot wants to sit out her period as commissioner as it looks today.”

In a telephone interview with TT, Wallström said she was “honoured” by the support, but did not say whether she was interested in the leadership roll.

Other candidates have been mentioned for the spot.

Outgoing Justice Minister Thomas Bodström, received 19 percent of support in the Sifo poll. Other names tossed about were Minister for Communications and Regional Policy Ulrica Messing, Minister of Sustainable Development Mona Sahlin and Wanja Lundby-Wedin, chairwoman of the union group LO.

Sifo phoned 1,000 Swedes older than 18 on Monday for the poll.