Stockholm mayor: election stress almost broke me

Stockholm mayor Kristina Axén Olin has admitted that the stress of winning last year's election and the death of her mother almost broke her.

In an interview with Dagens Nyheter, Axén Olin said she had taken too many painkillers and drunk too much alcohol following September’s election victory:

“I confess – there was too much work, too little sleep, too many headache pills and too much alcohol,” Axén Olin told the paper.

The mayor said that she had visited Alcoholics Anonymous, but said she was not an alcoholic. She also denied ever having been drunk on the job.

The problems started for Axén Olin following her mother’s death at Christmas 2005, with an intensive election campaign following hard on its heels.

“Then we won the election, but while others could take a holiday, I just had a couple of weeks to put together an administration, appoint officials, find administrative staff and put together a budget.

But, she said, she had now learnt to handle stress thanks to therapy. She also insisted that her enthusiasm for the job was undented.

“I really love this job, Stockholmers and Stockholm,” she said. Asked about the comparison sometimes made between her and Margaret Thatcher, Axén Olin seemed to want to confirm their similarities.

“I am a strong person. I have an enormous will and can manage to do an awful lot. I am energetic, don’t need much sleep, and – touch wood – have a constitution of iron.”