Gotland governor ousted over beach row

Gotland county governor Marianne Samuelsson has been forced to step down from her post after she was taped arguing that a local businessman should receive preferential treatment for plans to extend his property in a protected beachside area.

Gotland governor ousted over beach row; Hemlins foto/Gotlands Länsstyrelsen

“It was a difficult decision,” said counties minister Mats Odell on Tuesday.

“We’ve decided that it’s best for her and best for the county administrative board on Gotland if she leaves her post and instead gets a new position within the Government Offices.”

Odell and Samuelsson held meetings on Monday and Tuesday to discuss statements by the county governor which many interpreted as advocating for the special treatment of Max Hansson, a successful businessman and Gotland resident.

The decision to have Samuelsson leave her post came after a tape emerged last week on which she is argued that Hansson should receive preferential treatment for plans to extend his beachfront property into a protected zone.

Odell explained that there were two primary motivations behind the resignation.

“In part it’s the uncertainty caused by her statements about how she views fundamental principles and in part how that affects her ability to lead the county board on Gotland.

In a statement released earlier on Tuesday, Samuelsson claimed that a vindictive colleague set her up.

“I was caught in a trap set by a disloyal co-worker with a political agenda,” she said.

Samuelsson went on to claim that she believes all people are equal under the law that claims she gave Hansson special treatment are absurd.

“The way that this particular business man has been dumping on me is proof of my position.”

In a secretly made recording aired last week by Sveriges Radio (SR), Samuelsson drew parallels between Hansson’s case and how the county governor of Västra Götaland would treat the head of locally-based Volvo if he wanted to build property near the beach.

She claimed in Tuesday’s statement that the comments made on the tape, which were made during a meeting of the county board, were taken out of context.

“Taken out of context my statements are incomprehensible and slanderous, but it is my primary statements, and not what was said in this ‘set up’ which should be judged,” she said.

In announcing the resignation, Odell also expressed his disapproval for the statement released by Samulesson earlier in the day.

“That has hardly contributed to rebuilding a confidence in her work with the county board,” he said.

“I think that she’s sorry and upset about the situation,” he said.

Following the resignation, Gotland’s county director Anders Granat will take over as the temporary county governor until a permanent replacement for Samuelsson can be found.

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