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Sahlin admits defeat in 'very bad' election

AFP/The Local · 20 Sep 2010, 00:12

Published: 20 Sep 2010 00:12 GMT+02:00

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"We lost," Sahlin told a gathering of crestfallen supporters as near-final results showed the opposition coalition made up of her Social Democrats, the Greens and formerly communist Left Party had won just 156 of the parliament's 349 seats.

"We were not able to win back confidence," she lamented, acknowledging that Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt's centre-right Alliance government had won the most votes, landing 173 seats.

"The Alliance is the largest majority. It has first dibs in creating a government. It is now up to Fredrick Reinfeldt how he plans to rule Sweden without letting the (far-right) Sweden Democrats get political influence," she said.

"We will never contribute to that happening," she added.

The far-right party easily passed the four-percent barrier for entering parliament, winning 5.7 percent of the vote, or 20 seats, according to a tally of nearly 99 percent of ballots.

Even with a handful of parliamentary seats, observers have cautioned the far-right party would play kingmaker or spoiler, forcing Reinfeldt to seek new alliances or even make it so difficult to govern that new elections would need to be called.

Reinfeldt's win spells a decisive end to the Social Democrats' 80-year domination of Swedish politics and their role as caretakers of the country's famous cradle-to-grave welfare state.

The party, which for the first time had created a coalition of leftwing parties to increase its chances of winning power, suffered a historic loss according to partial results, which showed it had garnered just 30.8 percent, down from 35.3 percent in 2006, when its score was already one of its weakest on record.

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"We had a bad election, a very bad election. We were unable to win back voter support," Sahlin said, cautioning that the far-right rise had put Sweden in a "dangerous political situation."

"I have dedicated my entire life to fight xenophobia ... and that doesn't end now," she said to the cheering crowd.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

01:36 September 20, 2010 by jackx123
It's time for a new party leader. She will do even worse in the next election and to save the party she has to go.
02:09 September 20, 2010 by Ann-Marie
Good riddance! There was only one Tage Erlander, and he'd be rolling in his grave if he knew how pathetic this woman is.
02:26 September 20, 2010 by Beavis
It was hillarous to watch her just a few minutes before she realised shed lost. She was basking in her own glory like a queen would do. They need a far better leader to stand any chance in future, everyone including their own voters know this. A recent poll showed that a lampost had 160,000 supporters in comparison with her 23,000
05:12 September 20, 2010 by Bork
She has herself to blame. Many supported the left's policies, but when it came down to individuals as this election did, she was widely unpopular. She should have refused to run due to her personal unpopularity. The Social Democrats as a whole should have pressured her not to run as well. The Green-Left alliance failed to present a good plan to deal with people's growing concerns with crime and a growing disconnected, unemployed, hostile minority.
07:38 September 20, 2010 by rufus.t.firefly
Why, in fact, did the Social Democrats elevate someone so unpopular and in the long-lingering shadow of scandal to the position of party leader? I heard repeatedly that "she is the only one" the Social Democrats have. How could that possibly be? If that is the truth, then the party is completely bankrupt of principles and might as well disappear. Maybe it is terminally corrupt and should figure out a way to clean up so that it has a future. Maybe some of its potential leaders need to challenge the status quo and emerge as the new leadership. Maybe they're dumber than a bag of hammers and incapable of looking at themselves honestly and making forward looking decisions.
08:20 September 20, 2010 by RobinHood
The Social Democrats are in a bit of a pickle. The Greens may well accept Reinfeldt's invitation, leaving the SD's with the Left party as their last remaining partner. Mona is responsible for this mess, she agreed to take on the Left party, and drove away hundreds of thousands of SD voters; she has to go. Her party has lurched to the left and will lean even further when the Greens jump ship.

The solution? Dump the Left. Go it alone for a few years with a fresh young leader more in touch with modern Sweden, and wait for political gravity to take effect, and the Moderates to get tired and stale.
08:34 September 20, 2010 by chrisco
I'll be the first to admit I don't know much about Swedish politics, and my sample is small and statistically insignificant, but it sounds like Sahlin might have some corruption issues (or at least double standard issues). She needs to go. Her party need a squeaky clean new leader.
08:56 September 20, 2010 by samwise
seems like more and more people realize that the big government socialist welfare state ponzi scheme is not sustainable, an aging population alone will make it obvious.
08:58 September 20, 2010 by calebian22
I won't miss seeing her waddle hanging low in stock photos. Goodbye, and good riddance Mona(when the social dems dump you). Thanks for being such a pathetic leader.
10:54 September 20, 2010 by orangetree
Sahlin was too good for SD. I will miss her..
13:44 September 20, 2010 by jollyroger
do swedes even know what democracy is? i wonder, when i read what the various liberal and far-left elites that have turned sweden into a third world nation over the past thirty years or so, do they really understand freedom the way we know it in english speaking nations? this idiot sahlin, whines about the so-called far-right, (far-right because they don't want to be a minority in their own indigenous land to hordes of muslims who couldn't give a you know what about sweden, i've been to malmo, i know!) yet it's thanks to her policies and those of previous liberal and far-left goverments constantly selling out the swedish people to the third world, that has seen the rise of the SD, so please, madam, stop your bleeting! do swedes really think they've got an obligation to end up a minority in their own country? if so, why, and where did you get this insane self-loathing ideology from? P.S. do you really think muslims and africans care about the traditions of sweden over their own native cultures and religions.
14:06 September 20, 2010 by ChrisEdmSkiBum
The ignorance expressed in these forums sometimes is astounding.....

To each his own opinion but Sweden a third world nation?

Hordes of Muslims that dont care?

Muslims and Africans.... what kind of BS generalization is that?

Are you serious?

ugh.... this type of expression is what scares me the most.

This is the kind of thinking that allows a borderline racist party into the government.
14:26 September 20, 2010 by flintis
Talk about hypocritcal, vowed to fight the far-right, but loves the "far-left" commie b'stards, more people have been murederd in the name of communism than in the name of facism.

I detest both the far right & far left, but the hypocrisy of these political moralists is unbelievable.
15:06 September 20, 2010 by Grindsprint
I think flintis needs to learn more about the meaning of the word hypocrisy.

It always fascinates me how some people think that their personal view of things is the universally accepted truth. You may argue that communism killed alot of people, and indeed, it did of course, but by saying that the left of today, just by having the same root of thought, advocates totalitarian dictatorships is ignorant and just a cheap shot. Why can´t people argue for thair cause with honesty? everything is about "how can I misrepresent the oposition most effectively" instead of representing ones own views most effectively.

A better way of arguing against the left is pointing out it´s incompatibilities with modern international trade situations, and the fact that a big welfare state will continue to become more and more unsustainable and expensive. If they keep clinging to the swedish model of a welfare state, we will all be poor. equally poor, but nevertheless poor. It´s obvious that the social democrats have served sweden in the past, when the world was "bigger" but things change. There is no room for inefficient government run welfare programs in the future. And if the social democrats comes back to power in four years, we will learn that the hard way.

And just another thing: everybody keeps shoving the Sweden dems to the other side of the left-right scale. the left-right scale is a very flawed model for positioning different ideological variants. SD fits in both sides and neither. Their socialist ways of thought are of course on the left side, but their main objective, the nationalist agenda is often linked to conservatism, wich is considered right wing. I don´t understand why it is, that conservatives are bundled up with free market liberalism in the minds of the leftists just because of an imagined two sided scale for positioning of opinion. call it what you will. but neoconservatism and free market liberalism is two very different thoughts, even if they in some parties have been combined.

This rant was bbrought to you by a bored individual who admits that everything in the post is not on point on anything and that the intention of writing this post was, while writing this last bit, long forgotten.
15:53 September 20, 2010 by lasse12345
@Grindsprint rant perhaps, but I liked your post though. The left-right scale is so obsolete. Why do people group the "retired people first" SD policies with the "smaller state " of the alliance.
16:25 September 20, 2010 by pantheratigris
Mona has only herself and her policies to blame for the rise of the SD. period
21:47 September 20, 2010 by wxman
That's the spirit! Hang in there. Sooner or later, after it's articulated 1,000 times for 1,000 years, the people will eventually understand that socialism is Utopia.
00:17 September 21, 2010 by alecLoTh
The SD knew the time was ripe. It was merely a waiting game, but they finally got their 'perfect storm' - unemployment, econonomic woes, disaffected youth. They knew people would warm to them if they simply existed - history has these examples repeatedly.....
02:09 September 21, 2010 by Pharazon
Perfect storm?

SD election results:

National elections:

1994: 0,25%

1998: 0,37%, increase by 48%

2002: 1,44%, increase by 389%

2006: 2,93%, increase by 203%

2010: 5,7%, increase by 194%

EU elections:

1999: 0,34%

2004: 1,13%, increase by 332%

2009: 3,27%, increase by 289%

Church elections:

2001: 0,8%

2005: 1,7%, increase by 212%

2009: 2,9%, increase by 170%

To me it seems like a pretty consistent growth rate at around 200-300% for each comparable election.
03:18 September 21, 2010 by mieoux
alecLoTh - you hit the nail on the head.

However I wonder, do they think jamt-laws are gonna dig them out of this hole with all what 9 million of them? It's remarkable that with this small number of people Sweden is even a country and that they can even pay retirees today.

I think Swedes look at Norway and think they can do it on their own, but Norway has oil, that's a different story. Sweden a country of 9 million people, the size of any major US city, with no valuable natural resources, it's not enough for a country on it's own, they have been circling the drain to poverty for some time, and they shouldn't blame immigrants for this. Globalize now ya morons!
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