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Scandal-hit king sees popularity plunge

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Scandal-hit king sees popularity plunge
11:51 CEST+02:00
Support for Sweden's king has dropped rapidly in the wake of recent scandals, with a new poll indicating that less than half the population wants King Carl XVI Gustaf to remain on the throne.

Just 44 percent of respondents in a Dagens Nyheter/Synovate poll published on Saturday believe the king should stay on as monarch, while 41 percent want the embattled head of state to abdicate in favour of his daughter, Crown Princess Victoria.

The poll reflects a dramatic shift in public opinion: just over a year ago the king enjoyed the backing of 64 percent of the populace, with 17 percent calling for Victoria to take over.

Support for the monarchy as a whole has also dropped, with 66 percent now backing the institution compared to 74 percent in March 2010.

Peter Althin, chairman of the Swedish Republican Association (Republikanska Föreningen) described the dip in support for the royals as “encouraging and positive”.

“If it continues at this rate, a majority will soon be opposed (to the monarchy),” Althin told newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

The king does still enjoy the support of much of the population, however. Henrik S Järrel, a royalist and former Moderate Party member of parliament believes the downturn in popularity will be short-lived.

“It will turn,” he told news agency TT. “People have short memories.”

The Synovate poll confirms opinions seen in other recent surveys and comes shortly after commercial broadcaster TV4 claimed it had viewed pictures of the king in a strip club in the same shot as two women having sex.

TV4's report came as a new book said friends of the king had been willing to pay large sums of money to block the publication of pictures of him in compromising situations.

One of his friends, Anders Lettström, admitted on Monday to contacting an alleged mafia boss to ask for help to negotiate with the strip club owner and stop him from making sensitive material public.

The latest reports come just over six months after a tell-all biography of the king hit the bookstands, causing uproar with its descriptions of his participation in wild parties and affairs with young women.

The claims surfaced less than a week after the court announced that Carl XVI Gustaf's wife, German-born Queen Silvia, had launched an investigation into the nature of controversial ties between her father and the Nazi regime.

That probe came on the heels of another investigative report by TV4 that Silvia's father, whom she had previously insisted was not politically active although he was a member of the Nazi party, had taken over a German factory belonging to a Jew in 1939 as part of an "Aryanisation" programme.

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