Sahlin and Jämtin battle for Social Democrat crown

Just two combatants remain in the Social Democratic party leadership battle.

The process of selecting a new leader for Sweden’s largest party is shrouded in secrecy. But Metro reports that when the party’s 26 district leaders convene for a secret meeting on 14 December they will decide between two women, Carin Jämtin and Mona Sahlin.

Leading party figures have finally accepted Margot Wallström’s repeated claims that she is not the right person for the job.

Sources close to Metro revealed that party representatives from the cities of Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö will all nominate Jämtin, whereas the influential Stockholm County district favours Sahlin.

Stockholm County represents the party’s reformist, or right wing faction and Mona Sahlin is considered to belong to that tradition.

“Many other right wing districts will follow their suggestion,” a high profile party ombudsman told Metro.

In 1995 Mona Sahlin resigned from government in the wake of the infamous “Toblerone scandal”, when it emerged that she had used government money for private purposes.

Carin Jämtin meanwhile is associated with the left wing of the party. In a duel with Sahlin, she is widely expected to emerge victorious.

“If, despite everything, Margot Wallström should decide to run, Sahlin’s name will be crossed off. Then it would be between her and Jämtin. And Wallstöm would get the job,” one party representative close to the nominating committee told Metro.

The early favourite, EU Commissioner Margot Wallström, is a reformist. And unlike Mona Sahlin she does not have any prominent skeletons in her closet.

But just days after the Social Democrats’ general election defeat and Göran Persson’s resignation, Wallström sent out a press release to say that she was happy to remain in Brussels.

“It is of course heart-warming and an honour that so many people are placing their hopes and trust in me. And I am glad for the support I have been shown.

“But I do not intend to come forward as a candidate,” wrote Wallström.

Carin Jämtin is 42 years old. She was recently given the task of trying to win Stockholm City back from Moderate Party control.

But her unorthodox decision to carry on two jobs by retaining her seat in parliament seemed to suggest that she was considering the job of party leader. A seat in parliament is considered a prerequisite for the Social Democratic Party leadership.

And last week the high circulation social democratic newspaper Aftonbladet pledged its support for Jämtin’s candidacy.