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Sweden Democrat leaves party after winning seat

TT/Vivian Tse · 23 Sep 2010, 15:48

Published: 23 Sep 2010 15:48 GMT+02:00

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Eric Gerhardsson, who was recruited at the last minute to run for the party in the recent election, had a change of heart despite winning a seat on the municipal council.

"I have now familiarised myself with the Sweden Democrats' party program and unfortunately, I have to disappoint my constituents," he told local newspaper Norrländska Socialdemokraten. "I cannot stand as a candidate. Immigrants are my friends."

As a Christian, he thought that the Sweden Democrats were a good fit, but admitted that the recruitment process was done in haste and not very well thought out. He emphasised that despite his criticisms of Sweden's immigration policy, he is "definitely" not a racist and believes all men are created equal.

Given his views on immigration, the Sweden Democrats stood out as an alternative. He believes that the country has an obligation to ensure immigrants can find work and housing easily.

"Seven people in a studio apartment is inhumane," Gerhardsson told the paper. "Many are highly educated, but if one is called Mohammed, he will not get a job. We have young people waiting for housing and jobs. How do we solve this?"

However, he refused to endorse the party's proposals to reduce immigration to a minimum and eliminate family immigration, saying that families and relatives should not be subjected to forced separation. He added that refugees should not be sent back to an uncertain fate and that he counts them among his friends.

He suggests that politicians, the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) and the public gather for a meeting to reduce the tensions that exist in society, the report said.

He was later appalled by the reaction he received in the community when people learned of his candidacy for the Sweden Democrats, recalling an incident in which a Social Democrat refused to shake his hand, saying there was a risk that one could get his hands dirty.

Another reason behind his departure was learning that many young people in Gällivare had voted for the party. Attempts by The Local to reach Gerhardsson were unsuccessful.

Gerhardsson's departure only adds to the Sweden Democrats' problems in filling seats the party was won on several local councils across Sweden.

Story continues below…

The party currently lacks members in 52 of Sweden's 290 municipalities and the party needs to fill 63 empty seats on local councils across the country, the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper reported on Thursday.

Since the party is short substitutes in 51 municipalities, there may be even more vacancies if Sweden Democrat politicians like Gerhardsson drop out.

The rate of Sweden Democrats leaving the party in the last four years has been higher than the other parties. After the last election, 14 Sweden Democrat seats stood empty, but by the end of the term, 56 were vacant.

TT/Vivian Tse (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:56 September 23, 2010 by osamasson_binladinberg
Praise JESUS! Spot on! If ur name is Mohammed u cant get a job and that is the CRUX of the matter!! stop whining that everyone is lazy , ITS NOT TRUE!!!
17:06 September 23, 2010 by truthworthy
Well done! it gives me hope that there are still some with a heart in this party that will soon depart or already departed. Someone who has a single emotion of humanity cannot be a member of this party that is built on hatred.

thank you Gerhardsson and may more people like you raise their voices.
17:10 September 23, 2010 by asian123
if your name is mohammad you can not get job. it is true in many asian non muslim countries, european countries, and many more countries.

it is same as the if your name is mohammad in middle eastern countries you will get a job rather than David.

that is the problem.

do not breed children too much from social money.
17:11 September 23, 2010 by unseen
i am not lazy, i just can't find a job.
17:14 September 23, 2010 by Jes
I commend Gerhardsson not only for rejecting hatred , but also for suggesting a remedy to the issue of immigration .

If I were the State Minister , I would invite this guy to adress the nation.

Yes , the immigrations policy in Sweden leaves a lot to be desired But, no nation in the World can leave all its doors open for whoever wants to come in do what they like ;

Yes , some immigrants are don´t make no effort to integrate ; but a lot of Swedes treat immigrants as needy people who have got to be "trained " before they can be considered as equals

At last , one Saul has decided to become Paul. He has lived in both camps - the one of hate , and now , the one of love and respect .

One hopes that th other racists will follow . One hopes that the immigrants whose bodies are Sweden while their hearts are somewhere in Hilaland would take a step foward and meet this young man .
17:17 September 23, 2010 by asian123
but many immigrants are lazy in the eyes of swedish people. may be some people from japan or south korea are not lazy. they are respected in sweden.

nobody wants islamic people from asian or middle east or north africa for various reasons almost in all european countries.

sweden realised it very late.
18:10 September 23, 2010 by know
In Sweden most young people waiting for housing and jobs and this is the reason for the whole problem
18:35 September 23, 2010 by David S
where can one actually read their manifesto?
18:43 September 23, 2010 by gorgepir

People like Eric revive my hopes in Swedes.
18:43 September 23, 2010 by here for the summer
@david .. it would be good news to see the party manifesto translated and discussed. Maybe all the parties manifestos.
19:02 September 23, 2010 by miss79
asian123, do u know how many percentages of immigrants than swedes?its the swedes themselves are lazy!
19:33 September 23, 2010 by jazzIIIlove
guys, girls:

stop generalizations...The human behavior doesn't depend on nationalities or races.

But, yes, there is a reputation that immigrants are the ones who have difficulties to find job here.

and unfortunately, if my surname ended with "sson" suffix, I would be employed.

But, that's the reputation, I really like that "there are still some with a heart in this party that will soon depart or already departed".
20:27 September 23, 2010 by Iraniboy
This is actually the fact behind what happened in Sweden's election. Sweden doesn't have a right party yet has a far-right racist party. More than 90% of these 5% Swedes who voted for SD are actually unsatisfied of immigration policies. So they actually don't like the racism and hatred coming from SD but one can of course just accuse them of being insensitive to racism but not racist. The racists are those SD members whose racist views are even published in the media and thelocal.se!
20:33 September 23, 2010 by zooeden
Eric Gerhardsson, we Salute you!!!
21:08 September 23, 2010 by Toonie
We call that the puffer fish tactic in the UK - trying to get as many candidates as you can as quickly as you can to make a new party look bigger than it really is. And it can work for one particular election. Gerhardsson is obviously a good man.Rrecruited late in the day he was honest enough to admit that he didn't really know what the party stood for. But there will be many others recruited in the same way who really won't be suitable as democratic representatives. There won't be the same filtering procedures that the established parties have. During the next electoral cycle the public will get to know how many really aren't up to the job, and within the party there will be ructions as the incumbents start falling out with each other. So if you don't like the Sweden Democrats you can probably look forward to watching their disintegration, though it may not be fast enough for some of you.
21:45 September 23, 2010 by RememberAisha
Another chicken ass politician - too scared to tackle the problem head on so he packs up.

We have them in the US, the UK and nearly every civilized country I can think of, no surprise that there are a few in Sweden.

At least this one had the you-know-what to pack up and leave unlike a lot of idiots who say there isnt a problem and keep importing more people to ruin this beautiful country.
22:16 September 23, 2010 by glamelixir

Many Swedes are very lazy. I haven't met immigrant in socialbidrag I have met Swedes than never worked.

If I were you I would apologyze and state that many PEOPLE are lazy despite theri nationality.
07:38 September 24, 2010 by flintis
@glamelixir: You haven't met an immigrant on socialbidrag?? come to our village you will meet about 200 in the centrum everyday.

@RememberAisha: crudely put, but correct
08:08 September 24, 2010 by hpunlimited
Immigrants come to Sweden to be taken care of.

Immigrants come to the USA to work.

How do we change this?

Lazy Swedes has nothing to do with the price of tea in China.

"To be taken care of" also comes with a huge repsonsibility to pay it back to society.

As a immigrant ask yourself this........

Dont ask what Sweden can do for you, ask what you can do for Sweden!
08:22 September 24, 2010 by Rey Stockholm
Does this mean he has resigned his position completly or simply left the party but continue in the council
08:41 September 24, 2010 by calebian22
David S,

Sverigedemokraterna.se has all the information you need. It is in Swedish though. As far as I know they don't provide translations.
08:48 September 24, 2010 by miss79
flintis-even they get bidrag, they still have to do praktik u know..at least they do something rather than swedes sitting home on the couch..mind u, population of swedes are alot than immigrants..so STOP BLAMING on immigrants..
10:15 September 24, 2010 by Jes
@miss 79

it is always a challenge to reason with ignorant people .

You find here idiots who write about welfare, and yet they have no clue what the process is .

As you remark , it is almost true that one will not qualify for welfare if they not in some sort of programme . They either study , do "praktik" or provide medical evidence that they are sick or something .Those who study , or are involved in job training , etc , get paid by the hour- usually 197kr , not for an hour but the whole day ( 8 hrs) . This is a condition if one is going to apply and qualify for financial assistence ,aka , welfare

In other words , immigrants don`t have the benefit of sitting at home to wait for the cheques to come in from the Kommun

To qualify for welfare , one has got to apply every month and state their income , ( barn bidrag , bostadsbidrag etc ) The applicant must provide their current Bank Statement . If they own a car , ( information available from VV) an estimated value counts as income .

If one is single , the mothly pay is 2800 kr.!

Unless one is a magician , I see no way how one can live comfortably on welfare as many of these racist seem to think.
11:36 September 24, 2010 by salalah

Americans will give jobs to immigrants, Sweden don't want to.

Later, they blame lack of jobs on immigrants, but the real problem is that jobs leave Sweden for India and China.

The attitude of the Swedes must change towards a more tolerant one, otherwise the country will break from the inside.
12:20 September 24, 2010 by flintis
Maybe I should apply to be his replacement, could be good for the SD to benefit from an immigrants perspective.

How much do these people get paid? Got to be better than försäkringskassan
14:10 September 24, 2010 by Merc10
@ asian123

don't be cheated that you will get any better treatment from them, just because you are from Japan or South Korea. So long as you don't look or talk like them you will always be treated differently.

The sad truth is that both hardworking immigrants and lazy ones are all bundled in one group,
15:29 September 24, 2010 by jbkulp
He was confused. He thought SD stood for Social Democrats.
16:04 September 24, 2010 by planethero
well said iraniboy.
20:21 September 24, 2010 by izbz
@Merc 10

True......Work my ar#e off, pay lower than most of them, work more than them, being employ longer than them but still put on th chopping board for time cut. Maybe should change my colour like Micheal Jackson.

Wish my boss is like Gerhardsson
23:10 September 24, 2010 by vikingolf
The issue is not immigration in the US. It is illegal immigration. These are people who for the most part, do not pay taxes yet want all the benefits of living in an open society including access to education and medical care. I like the idea of a party manifesto. I wish the Tea Party in the US would issue one. If the immigration is legal, the community should welcome it as a means of strengthening the gene pool. The Swedish government, for years, has been naive in its policy / or lack of one / in this area. As an American, it has been interesting watching Sweden deal with the problems of the melting pot....
21:20 September 25, 2010 by Rebel
And this Swedish Democrat Arab is leaving politics after being brutally attacked.

Of course, the Alliance and the Social Democrats probably could not care less.
21:32 September 25, 2010 by junglecat64
Being 46 years old with a wife, two kids and a dog, living comfortably in Florida, I am not the typical SD voter. But I did vote for SD in 2006 and 2010.

For 30 years, the Swedish political establishment has taken a moralizing tone against anyone who has dared to question the immigration policy. I have hired foreigners in Sweden, foreigners in the US, blacks, homosexuals and even a convicted sex offender. I have myself immigrated to four countries. Therefore, nobody calls me a racist or intolerant without getting a spanking and more importantly, the other parties REFUSE to discuss immigration policy in general, and Islam in particular. Hence my vote for SD.

My definition of insanity is a Western women who coverts to Islam. My tolerance does not extend to totalitarian belief systems, and Islam is one of those. It isn't just a religion, it wants to be the schools, the legal system, banking, the arts and everything else. No, thank you.

To those who want to shout down SD: keep smoking whatever you are smoking. You will only make SD larger.
10:24 September 26, 2010 by Jes
@ junglecat64

you don`t sound like an intelligent 46 year old with a wife , 2 kinds and a dog . You sound like a fool whith a lot of issues , which means that you are better-off in SD than anywhere else .
14:15 September 26, 2010 by Rebel

This Arab man is attacked because he is a member of the Swedish Democrats. Again, where is the condemnation of this from the political parties in Sweden?
16:03 September 26, 2010 by Cornelius Hamelberg
In South Africa, people sang

" Black is black

I want my country back"

Black Power ? Ok

" White Power" - what do you say about that?

Since SD is identifiable as islamophobic it's but natural that some Brother Arabs would not like their brother to be "giving succour to the enemy"

Cheers : There's nothing here to indicate that Sweden is a "racist country":

21:08 September 26, 2010 by wxman
I agree that it's important to follow one's conscience, but it is also important to not mis-represent one's position. At this juncture, the honorable thing to do would be to resign his position. Assuming a government position under false pretenses is just as wrong as going along with beliefs he now rejects.
11:51 September 29, 2010 by stenhuggaren
10:04 October 11, 2010 by Malin (LBGT Asia)
This is one confused person as, according to him, he is going to join the communist party VPK or the former Stalinist party SKP now.
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