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Swedes' confidence in Juholt plummets

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11:45 CEST+02:00
Swedes' confidence in Social Democrat leader Håkan Juholt has plummeted, according to a new poll from TV channel TV4 and market research company Novus.

Over half, 52 percent, have very little or little confidence in Juholt, in a survey conducted after it was unveiled that he allowed the Riksdag to foot his girlfriend's rent costs as well as his own.

In May, poll results showed that 36 percent had very little or little confidence in the Social Democrats' head.

60 percent of those polled stated that the scandal surrounding the rental payment had affected their confidence in Juholt as a person negatively. Only 19 percent reported a large or very large confidence in Juholt.

However, among Social Democrat voters, 67 percent responded that they had large or very large confidence in him.

The poll was conducted on October 8. 1,000 people were asked, as a consequence of Juholt having let the Riksdag pay his girlfriend's rent for several years. Juholt is paying back 160,000 kronor ($23,500).

This isn't the first time the Social Democrat head has courted trouble over faulty reimbursement claims from the Riksdag, according to daily newspaper Expressen.

As early as 2001, he was urged to improve accounts of his expenses.

"I haven't bought Toblerone or been to a sex club," he allegedly said to newspaper Barometern at the time, referring to party colleagues Mona Sahlin and Björn Rosengren's actions, and excused himself with not having been acquainted with the rules.

According to Barometern, in 1999 Juholt failed to present receipts for his credit card purchases.

Håkan Juholt wrote on his Facebook page that he has turned in documents on his double living arrangements to the Riksdag since 1999, and that he was certain he was doing everything correctly. No one has said anything else.

He claims that he was informed that this was not the case only a month ago, and since then he has done everything possible to correct the mistake.

He wrote: "Yesterday the Riksdag said they had no demands. Very confusing, but despite that I paid what the evening papers said I owed. I've never tried to trick anyone."

The National Anti-Corruption Unit (Riksenheten för korruption) will be investigating whether Håkan Juholt was committing fraud when he allowed the Riksdag to pay his girlfriend's rent costs for several years.

However, there is scant risk of his being prosecuted, according to newspaper Svenska Dagbladet (SvD), since reimbursements from the Riksdag do not fall under the subsidy crime law.

Several local Social Democratic districts are marked by frustration following Juholt's incorrect rental payments.

"It's always serious when someone doesn't pay their due, and obviously this will affect confidence in him," said Monica Haider, district party leader in Kronoberg, to SvD.

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