Juholt position ‘difficult’ after fraud probe: expert

Juholt position 'difficult' after fraud probe: expert
The fraud investigation against Social Democrat leader Håkan Juholt will restrict his freedom of movement politically - and a prosecution will force his departure, political scientist Ulf Bjereld tells The Local.

The Swedish prosecutor’s office on Monday announced that Juholt is to be probed on suspicion of fraud. The investigation relates to revelations that he has spent years pocketing accommodation reimbursements he wasn’t entitled to.

Ulf Bjereld is a professor in political science at Gothenburg University and a regular commentator on Swedish political life and in an interview with The Local he assesses the impact of Monday’s decision on Håkan Juholt and the Social Democrats.

How does the prosecutor’s decision affect the situation regarding Håkan Juholt?

“This makes his position more difficult. As the investigation progresses he will have much less freedom for political action. People will focus less on him and his political comments and more on the investigation.”

How do you think the decision affects support for Juholt within the party?

“In the short term this is very bad. Especially at the grassroots and local level.”

“But I am really not sure that many people want a new leadership process so soon after the last one, because the last one was a difficult one. There will be support for him from within the party.”

Is his position threatened as leader of the party? What will decide his fate as leader?

“It is threatened.”

“However I think that the majority want him to stay in power and will wait for the investigation to take its course. But if there is then a prosecution he will have to go, but if there is not then he will be able to stay.”

Håkan Juholt was elected as leader of the Social Democrats at the party conference in March 2011, replacing Mona Sahlin.

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