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Borg best in popularity stakes

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14:55 CET+01:00
Swedish finance minister Anders Borg">Anders Borg is ranked highly by his party colleagues while defence minister Sten Tolgfors and trade minister Ewa Björling scored low in the popularity stakes among their peers.

The finance minister claimed the backing of 71 percent of the Alliance coalition when politicians were given the chance to rate the performance of their political seniors. Only 3 percent meanwhile approved of the defence minister's efforts.

Tolgfors is second from bottom among government ministers. Only trade minister Ewa Björling scores less, with a lowly two percent approval rating.

The figures were presented by Sveriges Radio and have been collected from a survey of 1,119 leading local government politicians in the four Alliance parties. 66 percent of the surveys sent were returned and the replies were equally divided across the coalition parties.

One of the questions addressed whether the respondent felt that any of the current ministers should leave the government. There were no votes for a new prime minister and only 1 percent of replies called for a change in finance minister.

But more than 20 percent opined that Sten Tolgfors should be replaced and almost as many would like to see the back of former Liberal Party leader Lars Leijonborg. Local councillor Bengt Sylvan in Stockholm suburb Danderyd is one of those who would like to see Tolgfors replaced.

"He is incredibly weak as defence minister and he is also a conscientious objector," Sylvan said to Ekot.

The defence minister was unwilling to comment on his popularity ranking. Tolgfors it seems is at least able to draw on support from his home base of Örebro.

"This is not fair. Sten Tolgfors is doing a good job and carries out the ambitions set out by the Alliance at the last election - to keep the departments managed and running smoothly," said party ombudsman Jan Zetterström.

Zetterstöm is confident that Tolgfors can feel secure and that he will be renominated for his parliamentary seat.

"The members know the job that he has done and the work he is doing now."

Sten Tolgfors replaced Mikael Oldenberg as defence minister in September 2007. Oldenberg left the government in protest over cuts in the defence budget. Oldenberg is considered to have done a particularly good job by 21 percent of the local politicians surveyed.

The four party leaders are all among the top six in the rankings table. Aside from Anders Borg">Anders Borg they are joined by foreign minister Carl Bildt who claims fourth place, ahead of Centre Party leader Maud Olofsson and health and social affairs minister Göran Hägglund.

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