Sweden’s politicians take to the pitch

The Red-Green team is favoured in this year’s annual football match between the opposition and the government.

Sweden's politicians take to the pitch
Photo: RAWKU5

“I have no illusions about the result,” said Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.

The prestigious battle is to take place on Wednesday night, and the mood is tense after the party leaders’ went after each other in a debate on the floor of the Riksdag earlier in the day.

The prime minister nevertheless has great respect for his opponent when it comes to football knowledge.

“We’ll meet a talented team with many who play football and by that I mean more than once a year,” said Reinfeldt, who in his youth chose to play basketball.

“My ambition for tonight is to manage to hang in there for the greater part of the match. That would be an achievement and I hope I can deliver a few passes to our sharp shooters.”

Reinfeldt is the only minister participating in the match. Education minister Jan Björklund claims he wasn’t invited, social minister Göran Hägglund says he doesn’t have time, while energy minister Maud Olofsson blames her leader.

The opposition’s star is former justice minister and former AIK player Thomas Bodström.

He wasn’t impressed by Reinfeldt’s effort last year and is betting on another victory this time around. As right midfielder, Bodström has Left Party leader Lars Ohly.

“That suits me wonderfully. I can make breaks from the left, which will be really fun,” said Ohly, who previously claimed that when he was little he had the chance to play with the legendary “Nacka” Skoglund, a member of Sweden’s national team in the 1950s which took home two World Cup medals.

The Social Democratic party leader Mona Sahlin, who would very much like to have Reinfeldt’s job as prime minister, won’t be able to challenge him on the football pitch.

Instead, she’ll be showing her support for the Red-Green team from the bleachers.


Swedish KD leader calls for chemical castration of sex offenders

Sweden's Christian Democrats have called for tougher sentences for sex offenders and making release conditional on chemical castration.

Swedish KD leader calls for chemical castration of sex offenders

The Swedish Christian Democrats (KD) leader has called for the chemical castration of certain sex offenders as part of plans for a tougher grip on sexual crime and punishment in Sweden.

Speaking to the Swedish parliament on July 1st, KD party leader Ebba Busch said, “Every day, 27 rapes are reported. How many days must pass before the government takes action?”

“Today we propose that rapists and people who commit sexual crimes against children should be able to be chemically castrated.”

The controversial chemical castration proposal was the headline grabbing soundbite in a broader set of proposals to recalibrate the structure of Sweden’s sexual crime sentencing.

Among KD’s proposed sentencing changes is a life sentence for the aggravated rape of a child, the removal of automatic conditional release for sex offenders, and an increase in the sentence for aggravated rape up to a maximum of 25 years.

In addition, they want a “monitoring period” for convicts who have been released, equivalent to one third of the sentence served.

They also want to establish a national knowledge centre for sexual violence where people who feel that they have “problematic sexuality” can receive support. The center must also “be able to administer chemical castration on a voluntary basis to those who are concerned about unwanted sexual thoughts and impulses and have a compulsive sexuality”.

READ ALSO: What’s the Swedish Christian Democrats’ abortion contract all about?

Chemical castration, she suggested, should be implemented as a condition of release for some sexual offenders. “It may mean that if a person like Nytorgsmannen is to be able to become a free man, a chemical castration must have taken place before the release,” Busch said, referring to Andreas Holm, a man sentenced in 2021 for 35 different crimes including 24 rapes.

But this is not the first time the Christian Democrats have toyed with the idea of chemical castration as a form of legal punishment. As far back as 20 years ago, under former leader Alf Svensson, the right-wing party raised the idea of conditional chemical castration of rapists and pedophiles.

At the time the proposal was rejected by all other parties.

Chemical castration, the process of preventing sex hormone production through chemicals, can reduce sexual libido but the effects on those with deviant behaviours are relatively unknown.

Chemical castration can also prove costly as it is not a one-off treatment but rather requires regular interventions, which means the police would be reliant on those sentences to chemical castration making regular trips to the authorities for further treatment.