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Juholt confirmed as Social Democrat leader

TT/Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 25 Mar 2011, 16:00

Published: 25 Mar 2011 16:00 GMT+01:00

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"Thank you, thank you. We won't back down," Juholt said after his formal appointment repeatedly quoting the words of US musician Tom Petty.

"We believe in a society that raises an umbrella over those who stand in the rain... It will take time to regain the faith and support of the electorate. But I promise, we won't back down."

48-year-old Juholt from Oskarshamn in southern Sweden was confirmed as the successor to Mona Sahlin in what the party hopes is the beginning of an era of renewal following two crushing election defeats.

The vote was little more than a formality after the announcement on March 11th that the party's nomination committee had plumped for the relatively unknown, and decidedly unexpected, Juholt.

The mustachioed 15-year Riksdag veteran has never held a ministerial position and until Friday his perhaps most high profile role has been the chair of the parliament's defence committee.

Mona Sahlin opened the congress at Stockholm's new Waterfront conference shortly after lunch with a farewell address to the party which she has led for four years and for whom she was first elected as a member of parliament in 1982.

"At last, the work for the party will return to normal. At last, we can soon roll up our sleeves and get to work," Sahlin said, referring to the end of the long and difficult task of finding a new party leader.

"Today I hand the toolbox over to you," she said.

In a speech to the party's advisory committee in December, Sahlin slammed the election campaign complaining that "we were not successful in washing away the image of the Social Democrats as the party for benefits".

But Friday's speech was dedicated instead to the more upbeat themes of hope and responsibility, she said.

Sahlin directed the final moments of her speech to her successor.

Story continues below…

"You have a tough task. I wish you all success and happiness. The expectations on you are great," she said.

The congress will continue until Sunday and during the weekend Carin Jämtin is expected to be appointed as new party secretary.

The highlight of the weekend will be the inaugural speech by the new leader in which he will present his vision for how the party will address its slide and attempt to regain its place at the head of Swedish politics.

TT/Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:28 March 25, 2011 by mojofat
So the guy on the right with the mustache replaced the guy on the left without a mustache?
18:36 March 25, 2011 by Nemesis
As I said last week, he had been appointed leader.
18:40 March 25, 2011 by Syftfel
Good Luck honey cakes! You're gonna need it. And try to cut down on the radical egalitarianism. And try to model yourself more on Ronald Reagan, and less on Walter Ulbricht or Palme. And dissasociate yourself from the loudmouth gasbags on the rock throwing left and other assorted lefty hysterics. They tend to leave Swedes with a rotten taste in their mouths. Remember Juholt, socialism is the greatest fraud ever committed against humanity. The number of lives sacrificed on the altar of socialism is considerably, in fact manyfold, greater than the lives sacrificed on any right wing regimes. In short, Juholt, don't be a social dem!
19:08 March 25, 2011 by RobinHood
I like the cut of his jib. I am certain this is the right man to lead the Social Democrats out of the electoral wilderness. He has the necessary spunk to attract the young, and the maturity and experience to reassure the older more cautious voter. His dynamic, vibrant personality will soon make hím the rock star of Swedish politics. The Moderate party are going to have to significantly raise their game to keep up with this firebrand.

The screens please nurse, and has anyone seen my Napolean hat?
20:03 March 25, 2011 by rymagnusson
Ronald Reagan? Who would want to be like that amoral monster?

"He released mental patients without recourse, and subsequently the homeless population went up considerably. When homelessness first became a national issue, however, the Reagan administration all but turned a blind eye to the problem. Federal expenditures for low-cost housing plunged during Reagan's watch from $32 billion in 1981 to just $7 billion in 1987. At the same time, funding was slashed for a variety of social services, including public health, drug rehab and food stamps - programs that were relied upon by the thousands of mentally ill people who'd been released from state facilities as part of one of Reagan's cost-cutting moves. Reagan was asked in a 1988 interview, shortly before Christmas, what he thought of the homeless people sleeping just across the street from the White House in Lafayette Park. "What we have found in this country, and maybe we're more aware of it now, is one problem that we've had, even in the best of times, and that is the people who are sleeping on the grates, the homeless who are homeless, you might say, by choice." When asked for clarification on this comment, he replied: "They make it their own choice for staying out there.""
20:26 March 25, 2011 by McChatter
Will you please stop calling them "Social Democrats". Internally they are as democratic as the former CCCP.

HJ looks like a mixture of John Cleese and Groucho Marx. Wonder if he'll be as successfull?
03:57 March 26, 2011 by jackx123
Does Laurel and Hardy ring a bell?? Similarity is striking
07:07 March 26, 2011 by huckleberry
Charisma levels continue to plummet. He looks a tad 'bloated hitlerish' to me (too many steak and cheese pies?)
14:28 March 27, 2011 by jackx123
at the humble age of 78 i moved out og sweden at the tender age of 19 realizing these socialist punks were going to destroy the country. was i right? oh yes. i even met loofa palm when he was still wearing napes and my impression, coming from a pretty deprived background, was to say the least, tepid.

i am reluctantly admitting that the governments has failed to take care of my dear friends who now are living on social welfare whilst the immigrants, who have contributed NOTHING to sweden, live well beyond their means and well above my poor fellow pensioners.

rest my case
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