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Alliance candidate wins Riksdag speaker vote

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 4 Oct 2010, 12:35

Published: 04 Oct 2010 12:35 GMT+02:00

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There were 347 ballots submitted in the vote, with 153 in favour of Kent Härstedt, and 194 for Per Westerberg. The result means that the Sweden Democrats, with their 20 votes, did not decide the outcome of the ballot.

"I am happy that he would have been elected even without the support of the Sweden Democrats," said Anna Kinberg Batra, Moderate party parliamentary group leader, to news agency TT after the vote.

Susanne Eberstein of the Social Democrats, was confirmed without contest as deputy speaker, while the Green Party's Ulf Holm won a landslide vote against the Sweden Democrats Mikael Jansson, to become second deputy speaker.

Liselott Hagberg completed the business of allocating the speaker posts with an uncontested appointment as the third deputy speaker.

Social Democrat leader Mona Sahlin chaired the proceedings, in her role as one of the longest-serving members of the Riksdag. The longest-serving member, known as the 'Ålderspresident' is Per Westerberg, who for obvious reasons could not chair the session.

Sahlin initially declared Per Westerberg to be the winner, but immediately announced that Sven-Erik Österberg had contested the result, and ordered a secret ballot.

Anna Kinberg Batra then introduced the Alliance candidate, sitting speaker Per Westerberg and noted that since 1976 it had been centre-right praxis to back the candidate of the largest bloc as the Riksdag speaker.

"Per Westerberg has been an member of parliament for 30 years. He has been minister, deputy speaker and speaker. He won respect across the political spectrum," she said.

The Sweden Democrats had attempted to use the election to push the major parties to negotiate but neither the Social Democrats not the Moderates took up the invitation.

Sweden Democrats party leader Björn Söder explained while nominating Mikael Jansson as second deputy speaker, that it is the party's policy to back the candidate of the largest bloc for the speaker post and confirmed that SD's candidates had done so.

But with Per Westerberg claiming 194 votes, the votes of the Sweden Democrats were not required to confirm the Alliance candidate's appointment and also means that one Red-Green member of parliament voted with the Alliance.

Story continues below…

One of the members, Christina Höj Larsen, missed voting as she had left the chamber to go to the toilet when she her name was called. Danish-born Larsen tried to run down to register her vote, but was told that it was too late.

The members of parliament are called up to submit their votes in order, according to constituency allegiance.

The other abstention is accounted for by former justice minister Thomas Bodström, who is in the USA and had not appointed a replacement for Monday's vote.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:25 October 4, 2010 by Governor
sweden democrat are dying slowly besides this was just a luck to be elected
14:12 October 4, 2010 by Iraniboy

This is exactly democracy! 20 votes have no say among 347 votes. This is what democracy means.
14:28 October 4, 2010 by bubbagump
339,610 votes is not luck. Consider this, there are only 50,000 in the whole of the Swedish Army. That's 7X the number of folks. That should make people who have an understanding of history take notice.

The current ignoring of SD is a publicity stunt. Within the next 4 years, the Svenska Demokrator will wait for an event (terrorist attack, economic collapse, etc) that would be favorable to boost their numbers. They will then partner with Mona Sahlin and the left to force a vote of no confidence (and Mona will want that opportunity). They will then have the atmosphere most condusive for increased election results. Instead of 20 members you may see 25 or more. Both sides are making a huge mistake. Attacking these 20 members is actually an attack on over 300k Swedes who voted for them.

If they are so dumb, racist, etc. then let them join in the political discussion as full members. They will then show their "true colors" and lose support. The left and right choosing to not follow democratic principles tells me that they are nervous that this radical group will make sense to more people (not saying that they wil make sense, just more people will go along). Let them play now with their 20 or expect more next time around. To think they are "dying" because of today's elections is a huge oversimplification of the issue and is not rooted in reality. Those 20 members represent real people with real fears and real concerns. It's a manifistation of what many of us have known for a long time. Racism and hypocracy is huge here and I'm not talking about neo-nazis. I'm talking about the fact that you can be a 5th generation immigrant and you will never, I repeat, never be considered "Swedish" by a Swede if you aren't white or in the case of Ibrahimavic, very popular and wealthy. You will always be "invandrare". Churches when doing skits about Africa have their youth put on "black face" complete with the BIG white ring around the lips. It's incredible. And to speak of democracy, aparently democracy only works when you vote for the correct, predefined groups. Vote outside that, well apparently the process didn't work. Tell that to the 339,610 who took the time to cast a ballot. Wow. And please, no comparisons with other countries. To say another country has similar problems does not disprove that Sweden has issues it needs to work on. I'm not for SD, but ignoring them is not an option and they are on the rise, not the downhill turn.
15:12 October 4, 2010 by shame, shame

They were allowed to vote. They were allowed to present their own candidate. The Sweden Democrats simply did not have enough votes to have any impact on the election of speaker - that is democracy.

If SD wants to work to influence government policy then its politicos have to wise up and stop playing the victim - it is just pathetic and in the long term will become increasingly so.

Just because M and S did not bow to their attempted blackmail, does not mean that they were either ignored, or attacked. They simply proved less relevant than their trumped up view of themselves belies to suggest.
15:24 October 4, 2010 by thebittertruth
@shame, shame

Well said..you really reason out of the box, and I agree with you that blackamail and playing the victim is NOT democracy. I respect the SD for being in the riksdag , but they shouldnt count their chickens before they are hatched the way they have been doing ever since their election.
15:37 October 4, 2010 by Syftfel
You're making a grave mistake by gloating, jumping with apparent joy, and bloviating every time you perceive SD to have been undercut. By doing so you are unfairly marginalizing 5.7% of the Swedish electorate who, legitimately, cast its vote. SD's portion is small and, in the scheme of things, largely insignificant, but spewing undemocratic venom will promote nothing. They deserve to be heard. Everyone voting for SD is not an uncivilized peasant. Clearly they had a message that found many listeners. The Alliance, and especially the failed social dems, better take heed.
16:21 October 4, 2010 by gorgepir
Look, if 5.7% of Swede's voted for SD, that means that around 15% of the people have thought about these issues, and are important for them, but only 5.7% considered them as their top priority. (The statistics are not facts, just normal roundoffs, they actual percentage may be higher or lower).

Having said that, what is all this bawww from the SD? Did they think that 5.7%>41%? Or 5.7%>40%? or 5.7%>7%? Why should they have a speaker when the bigger parties didn't? The fact that they "deserve to be heard" does not mean that they can dictate their terms or in any way manipulate others and blackmailing them for their 20 votes. Would it be fair to marginalize the 7% of the Swedish electorate who legitimately cast their vote for the Green party, because SD really really wants deputy speaker?

If they want to be relevant, my suggestion would be to wise up and stop playing victims, maybe people would take you seriously.
19:13 October 4, 2010 by Iraniboy
Glory of Democracy!!

Majority rules! :)
04:58 October 9, 2010 by dmorton_1
Observing from America.... may I just say, with a great deal of respect and appreciation.... that Sweden's politics appear so much more relevant and sensible than what we live with here, where..... it's really all about the money.
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