Sahlin sets Christmas cooperation deadline

Social Democrat leader Mona Sahlin has said a decision will be reached by Christmas as to whether the main parties of the opposition will run for election in 2010 on a joint electoral platform.

Sahlin sets Christmas cooperation deadline

“Discussions with [Left Party leader] Lars Ohly regarding pre-election cooperation cannot be allowed to drag on. I think we have to be ready by Christmas,” Sahlin told news agency TT.

The three potential partners – the Social Democrats, Left Party and Greens – have not yet set a date for talks.

Sahlin said the parties would get together “when Lars Ohly returns from Kurdistan”.

“But I don’t know when that will be. I’m very busy keeping up to date with all the lay-offs,” said Sahlin during a joint visit to LuleĆ„ in northern Sweden with Green Party spokespersons Maria Wetterstrand and Peter Eriksson.

The visit also includes a meeting with Anders Berg, district chairman for the LO trade union confederation, who has openly criticized Sahlin for her original refusal to consider an electoral alliance with the Left Party.

“The party leadership should have waited until after the autumn party congress before reaching a decision about cooperation with other parties,” said Berg.

“There is a consultation process underway within the party and we on the union side are trying to influence matters in such a way that we get policies that the majority of LO members can get behind,” he added.

LO has traditionally had strong ties with the Social Democrats and remains a major financial contributor to Sweden’s largest political party.