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Reinfeldt backs Moderate party secretary

TT/The Local · 28 Oct 2010, 14:48

Published: 28 Oct 2010 14:48 GMT+02:00

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Arkelsten has meanwhile defended the trips, and a further report that she had accepted the offer of the use a complimentary BMW in October 2008.

"My judgement was and is that it was relevant," she said at Thursday lunchtime.

Sofia Arkelsten, who was appointed to replace Per Schlingmann as the Moderate Party's party secretary earlier this month, was on Wednesday criticised for accepting an invitation to the south of France from oil firm Shell.

On Thursday revelations of a further two all-expenses paid trips to Tanzania and Finland, paid for by the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (Riksförbundet för Sexuell Upplysning - RFSU) and energy giant Fortum respectively.

Arkelsten, who was a member of parliament at the time, did not apply for money from the Riksdag to fund the trips.

"It was my judgement that it was not strange that that the arrangers met the costs. With regards to this energy seminar it was not strange that they should meet the costs as I was to participate, with regards to RFSU I was invited to a programme, an activity that they had arranged," she said.

According to a poll carried out by the Sifo polling firm and published in the Aftonbladet newspaper, one in four Swedish voters want Arkelsten to resign.

The poll also revealed, however, that 55 percent of respondents think she should stay, although it was carried out when only one trip - the Shell trip to France - was known.

Moderate Party leader Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has come out in support of the embattled Arkelsten.

"It is important to say that we have confidence in Sofia Arkelsten," Reinfeldt said on Thursday. "She has just assumed the post of party secretary and I have a great confidence in her."

Aftonbladet reported on Thursday that Arkelsten had travelled to Tanzania in February 2007 for a trip organized and paid for by Swedish Association for Sexuality Education.

Furthermore it is reported that in October 2008 she took part in a study trip to a nuclear power station in Finland. The trip was, among other things, organized with the aim of the removal of the so-called stop law which forbade the construction of new nuclear reactors.

The law was overturned by parliament in June after a shift in position by the Centre Party. Arkelsten, whose party long supported the change in the law, voted in favour.

Arkelsten has insisted that all three trips fell within the scope of her position as member of parliament.

Story continues below…

"The trip to Tanzania was among the best journeys I have made within my political life. It was an extensive programme with opportunities to meet other politicians and carry out study visits we could never have done otherwise," she told the newspaper.

It also emerged on Wednesday that Arkelsten had resigned her post on the board of environmental consultancy Sweco, a 175,000 kronor ($25,800) per year post to which she was elected in the spring.

"There has been a discussion for some time. I went into this very openly and have considered it over the past few weeks," she told news agency TT.

"I did not know whether this type of position could be combined with the role as party secretary. I can conclude that it will be difficult, I am not going to have the time or the energy that I would like to devote to the Sweco assignment."

Public prosecutor, Gunnar Stetler has announced plans to launch a preliminary investigation into the matter and told the TT news agency on Thursday that he will consider all the revelations that have emerged in the media in recent days.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:49 October 28, 2010 by RobinHood
The Swedish press has an unfortunate habit of examining the lives of politicians in microscopic detail, and roaring in outrage at the slightest blemish. The end result is that good people of all political persuasions, either prefer not to get into politics at all, or are driven out because they haven't paid their TV license. The end result is the country suffers as the mediocre, but squeeky clean, dregs rise to power, and the best people go off and do something better.

I do hope this isn't going to turn into another Swedish witch hunt. Mona Sahlin's critics ranted about chocolate bars, until their own expense account indiscretions were exposed. Some much worse than a few Toblerones. They shut up soon enough then. Mona should have slapped them. Is there one single Swedish politician who hasn't been on a "fact finding" mission at some else's expense? I don't think so.

It is proper that politicians' backgrounds should be examined by the press, but if there is nothing significant or unusual to report, drop the story and go find a better one.
10:28 October 28, 2010 by salalah
She looks surreal!

Only blond people and albinos in her genes. Something for the gene-researchers to explore. This is the true Swedish uncontaminated look!
11:19 October 28, 2010 by Rishonim
Poor little Sofia with those Topo Gigio's ears.
12:00 October 28, 2010 by salalah
LOL! She can use them instead of regular airlines and it will all be free and legal then!!!
14:38 October 28, 2010 by salalah

15:34 October 28, 2010 by ppaf
I think this is more serious than perhaps it looks. This kind of behavior must be heavily censored or this is only the beginning of politicians becoming more and more promiscuous with private associations.

Also scary that she feels it is normal:

"My judgement was and is that it was relevant," she said at Thursday lunchtime.

How can she say something like this? There is no room for privately funded trips. She is representing Swedish people so tax money should pay her trips.

I hope this doesn't go unpunished.


ahahah that is hilarious!
20:13 October 28, 2010 by Kevin Harris
If Ms Arkelsten were from Africa and I were to ridicule her thick lips, or from Asia and I were to ridicule her slitty eyes, what would I be?

Of course, Salalah, Black African and Ppaf, you can't possibly have been ridiculing this lady on account of her ethnecity, you must have been doing something else.

So, Salalah, Black African and Ppaf, now you can explain to us all what you were doing, and why I shouldn't report you all to the moderator as racists.
01:30 October 29, 2010 by wxman
I wonder if Black African would appreciate being called the n-word. Of course, it would be perfectly OK if I followed it with, " I am not being a bigot, I'm just telling the truth."
02:04 October 29, 2010 by Tanskalainen
20 SEK says she is excellent in bed.
03:10 October 29, 2010 by zooeden
she´s hot!!!
03:43 October 29, 2010 by Jarvilainennen
It´s only good they dig a bit deeper into their backrouds these days. We just need to overlook the media-hassle. it´s been a "habit" allover to have little secrets that might be a bit on the edge of good taste.

A question: What was she negotiating with Shell? Perhaps, if one big oil company leaves Sweden, in the lack of competition the price of gasoline might rise a bit?

:) She does look like a Swedish archtype carricature... One other is your cube-face of a princess. Madeleine looks good, though.
08:42 October 29, 2010 by RobinHood
" I am not being a bigot, I'm just telling the truth." Salalah, Black African and Ppaf are racists.
08:48 October 29, 2010 by ppaf
@Kevin Harris

Why? For the same reason you do not take a dump on a dinner table... it's just retarded! :)

But it's hilarious both that you think that big ears are coming from her ethnic background and also that you find that "thick lips" and "slitty eyes" are something worth mocking...


Great comparison there! I do not even know where to begin in dismissing your comment. Should we start with the 500 year of slavery and discrimination from which the "N-word" came from?

Oh well... kudos for both for being so unreflectively racist ;)
09:38 October 29, 2010 by salalah
It is true, her ears have nothing to do with her ethnicity and who said it is wrong to look as a Swede?
18:05 October 29, 2010 by Kevin Harris
Thank you The Local moderator for taking down some of the more racist comments here.
12:53 October 30, 2010 by ppaf
Unfortunately they kept the "thick lips" and "slitty eyes" 15th century mentality kkkoment.

Then again, maybe because not everyone in here is so hypocritically sensitive to report those kinds of medieval lapses.

Food for thought on tolerance, when the most racist comment on this thread was left unreported and kept on the board.

Freedom of speech (almost) prevails!
15:08 October 30, 2010 by Attestupa
"If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." The gospel of St John, Chapter 8
19:12 October 30, 2010 by ppaf

I agree with that statement. What is at stake here is not a sin though. Just a recurrent mistake making her unfit to be a public servant.

I wish her nothing but happiness in her future life though... so I agree we should not condemn her on a higher level.

As a public servant she should pack her bags and leave though...
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