American presidents traditionally save the life of a turkey before Thanksgiving; Reinfeldt will appear on television on Saturday evening to save the bacon of Smulan the Christmas pig, who could otherwise have been destined for a Swedish Christmas dinner table.
Roast ham is the highlight of most Swedes’ festive smörgåsbords.
Reinfeldt himself chose the name Smulan, meaning ‘crumb’.
“Dear Smulan, in my role as prime minister I pardon you and wish you a long and happy life,” Reinfeldt said in his address to the pig outside government headquarters in central Stockholm, Aftonbladet reports.
How aware the one-month-old porker was of its good fortune cannot be guaged, although Smulan squealed loudly as he was taken from his cage by presenter Rickard Olsson.
Smulan’s owners at the Berga Agricultural School have promised that the prime minister’s pig will never be slaughtered.
Reinfeldt told left-leaning Aftonbladet it had not occured to him that pardoning festive table-fare would mark him out as unhealthily close to America. He said the idea came from TV4:
“They asked me to do it and I thought it sounded kind-of fun,” he said.
The scene, which was pre-recorded, will be shown on TV4’s Bingolotto on Saturday evening.