Dad’s practical joke turns trucker into politician

Thanks to a practical joke played by his dad, 20-year-old truck driver Jonas Larsson is one of Sweden's accidental politicians. A quirky election system means that civilians can be voted onto local councils without their knowledge.

One vote was enough to turn Larsson into a representative for the far-right Sweden Democrats in the small south western town of Vårgårda.

“Someone from the radio called yesterday and wanted to talk about my seat on the municipal council”, Larsson told Expressen. “I was taken by surprise since I have nothing to do with the Sweden Democrats.”

Larsson’s dad is the villain of the piece. He wrote his son’s name on the Sweden Democrats’ local election list. The party had plenty of votes but not enough candidates, meaning that a single vote was enough to launch the young truck driver’s political career.

“He probably didn’t think it would go this far but he has had a good laugh about it the last few days”, Larsson told Expressen. “I have given up my place, so the seat will be empty. I am not interested in politics. It’s not for me”.

But how can it be possible for this to happen?

“In Sweden it is possible to create your own party and nominate your own candidate on election day. I don’t know of any other country where this is the case”, Vivan Nilsson from the Swedish Election Authority tells The Local.

And it seems that Jonas Larsson’s case is by no means unique. “I spoke to a woman from Härryda just outside Gothenburg. She is politically to the left but two voters had written her name on the Sweden Democrats’ list and she was voted onto the council,” says Nilsson.

“We at the Election Authority have been trying to change this system for the last ten years. And I promise to keep trying,” says Nilsson.