Borg best in popularity stakes

Swedish finance minister 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 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.


Sweden’s right-wing parties agree to bring back Norlén as Speaker 

The four parties backing Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson as prime minister on Sunday announced that they had agreed to keep the current Speaker, Andreas Norlén in place, when the role is put to a vote as parliament opens on Monday.

Sweden's right-wing parties agree to bring back Norlén as Speaker 

The parties won a three-seat majority over the bloc led by the incumbent Social Democrats in Sweden’s general election on September 11th, and are currently in the middle of negotiating how they will form Sweden’s next government. 

Sweden’s parliament meets at 11am for the official installation of the 349 MPs for this mandate period. The votes for the Speaker and three Deputy Speakers are the first item on the agenda, after which the parties each select their parliamentary leaders and then vote on who should chair each of the parliamentary committees. 

READ ALSO: What happens next as parliament reopens? 

In a joint press release announcing the decision, the parties also agreed that the Sweden Democrats would be given eight of the 16 chairmanships the bloc will have of parliamentary committees in the next parliament, and that MPs for all four parties would back Julia Kronlid, the Sweden Democrats’ Second Deputy Leader, as the second deputy Speaker, serving under Norlén. 

In the press release, the parties said that Norlén had over the last four years shown that he has “the necessary personal qualities and qualifications which the role requires”. 

The decision to retain Norlén, who presided over the 134 days of talks and parliamentary votes that led to the January Agreement in 2019, was praised by Social Democrat leader Magdalena Andersson. 

Norlén, she said in a statement, had “managed his responsibilities well over the past four years and been a good representative of Sweden’s Riksdag.” 

The decision to appoint Kronlid was opposed by both the Left Party and the Green Party, who said that she supported tightening abortion legislation, and did not believe in evolution.

The Green Party’s joint leader Märta Stenevi said that her party “did not have confidence in Julia Kronlid”, pointing to an interview she gave in 2014 when she said she did not believe that humans were descended from apes.

The party has proposed its finance spokesperson Janine Alm Ericson as a rival candidate. 

The Left Party said it was planning to vote for the Centre Party’s candidate for the post second deputy Speaker in the hope of blocking Kronlid as a candidate.