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Juholt resigns as Social Democrat leader

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 21 Jan 2012, 15:00

Published: 21 Jan 2012 15:00 GMT+01:00

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Juholt took the podium in a packed shopping centre in Oskarshamn and gave a short statement ending with the news that he is to stand aside.

"I am leaving my position as chairperson of the Social Democrats with immediate effect," he said.

"I am a born Social Democrat and I am going to die a Social Democrat. The whole of my adult life I have tried to work for the Social Democrats and for the party's ideas," Juholt said in his opening comments.

Håkan Juholt, who has had a turbulent time in his short period as leader of the party which was Sweden's largest after the election last year, underlined that he had never applied for the job but had been offered it.

"From the first day I felt true support from Social Democrats across the country. The party needed a fresh start."

"The fresh start didn't pan out," he admitted.

Juholt conceded that he "had made mistakes", adding that the future would be the judge of his performance.

Håkan Juholt's statement ends days of intense speculation, and months of uncertainty at the head of the party since irregularities emerged over his parliamentary rent subsidy last autumn.

According to media reports several districts had demanded his resignation and the announcement comes only a day after senior party figures insisted that he would remain in the post and retain the support of the party hierarchy.

At a press conference later on Saturday afternoon, Social Democrat party secretary Carin Jämtin said that she would "step in and help out" while a replacement for Juholt is sought, in what she called a "unique situation".

"In an exceptional situation I will step in. But I am not acting party chairperson, I am still the party secretary," she said to TT.

Story continues below…

Jämtin also said she had spoken to all the districts over the course of the day and that there is great sadness countrywide over what has happened.

"Håkan Juholt has reached this decision by himself. The committee declared its continued support in him yesterday but he chose to announce that he leaves his post. Everyone feels sadness over this," Jämtin said at the press conference.

"I respect his decision. Now we move on from there," she told TT.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:19 January 21, 2012 by SimonDMontfort
He has made a dignified withdrawal from the leadership - perhaps hoping to 'draw the line' under some negative perceptions of his party
15:22 January 21, 2012 by zircon
Yes please, keep us informed.
19:54 January 21, 2012 by Guillaume_Montréal
It was written in the sky. It's sad to see the party in such position but I really think that it's the best thing that could happened to the socialdemokraterna. After the two last historical defeats against the moderaterna, the party's head commitee wanted to cut with Mona Sahlin's trend. Instead of letting a real debate taking place within the party, they covered it and tried to go back to the "good old" folkhemmet values by choosing a guy that would personify these values : a paternalistic and reassuring figure outsider of "Sahlin's gang"...Juholt.

What the party really needs, I think, is a serious debate around the core values of the party. I do think it's necessary to reassess the folkhemmet paradigm but not only as a front but deeply. To do so, the party has to reform it's chaiman's nomination mode that is not anymore adapted to the political realities and expectations. By reforming the procedures, a healthy debate on the party's ideas might rise. It is, in my humble opinion, the difficult path the socialdemokraterna have to follow to "renew" themselves and to avoid obsolescence.
21:29 January 21, 2012 by zooeden
It was about time this corrupt porcine step down, it took a lot of time!!!
22:10 January 21, 2012 by StockholmSam
Best move for the party. The press had mortally wounded him and any effort to make him a viable candidate in the future would have been brutally difficult and divisive. But I feel for the guy. He did not seek this position; S came to him and asked him to take over when Mona left. Recently many of them hung him out to dry. It was partly his fault but blame has to be placed on the party members as well. They are divided and weak. It takes a rare and special kind of leader to unify such a group.
22:31 January 21, 2012 by The Grand Master
Time for some genuine reform methinks. Book the whole leadership on a nice cruise around the Med on a ship with an Italian captain.

Who will the totally undemocratic leadership impose on their dwindling band of supporters next?

Bye bye socialist losers.......
23:54 January 21, 2012 by jomamas
The party ideology is stuck in the last millenium.

You can only hate your own culture, language and traditions for so long before it comes back to haunt you.

Immigrants from the 3rd world are good people, and they work hard despite a bad rep - however - cultural integration is absolutely impossible at very high rates - and Sweden will merely be a big American suburb in 50 years - English will be the language of everything.

The Social Dems are form a bygone era.

We need a party that can project our culture, our pride, without admonissing others, a party that can show economic leadership and innovation without killing the working class, a party that can show pride and dignity while minding the rights of non-swedes and have an energy policy that enables Swedes to live an flourish while trying to protect the environment.

Those are the new ideals of the 'right' - i.e. rational, reasonable people who have been enlightened by the social movements of the last 40 years.

On the left - we only have crazy ideological leftovers, academic intellectual ideologies with no grasp on reality - and they are running on fumes.

All hail the end of the socialist movement.
00:58 January 22, 2012 by BillyB
dont think he will be missed
05:41 January 22, 2012 by Naoise-Ryan Israel
It would be unfortunate if the Social Democrats now tried to fudge they-

and Sweden's- future by some sort of British New Labour/Deutschen

Neues Mitte hash...

It's true that politics in Sweden have moved on from the Folketshus-

people's house.

But there's no point the Social Democrats being the largest, let alone

aspire to majority, party if they're not- well- Social Democrat.

Goodness knows the failures of Conservatism even to effeciently manage

Capitalism are obvious enough. Unless everyone has gone greedy, that

surely leaves some scope if the collective nerve is there...
07:54 January 22, 2012 by Cornelius Hamelberg
"So, oft it chances in particular men,

That for some vicious mole of nature in them,

As, in their birth--wherein they are not guilty,

Since nature cannot choose his origin--

By the o'ergrowth of some complexion,

Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason,

Or by some habit that too much o'er-leavens

The form of plausive manners, that these men,

Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect,

Being nature's livery, or fortune's star,--

Their virtues else--be they as pure as grace,

As infinite as man may undergo--

Shall in the general censure take corruption

From that particular fault: the dram of eale

Doth all the noble substance of a doubt

To his own scandal."

Speaking wholly as an outside observer, my only source of information being the Swedish media: I see the avuncular Håkan Julholt as a tragic hero of Shakespearean proportions, and see his demise as not the result of one "particular fault" because his demise started at the very beginning of his role as leader, due to some internal splitting within Mona Sahlin's old Social Democratic Party, the bad blood already there apparently ostracised Mr. Juholt to the extent that he was not even invited to Mona Sahlin's send- off party because, as rumour has it, she would have none of him.

I see Håkan Juholt as a brave man who still stands up for what he believes and towering above the few human errors he committed I see a vindictive press which persecuted him to the nth degree, hounded him, battered and bruised him at every opportunity, and I suppose that if he had continued - and to err is human - sooner or later some little mistake would have cropped up - perhaps a trumped up charge of sexual harassment by a female colleague - and then he would have suffered what Clarence Thomas called "a high-tech lynching" at the hands of the Swedish press, a press which has struck me as being orchestrated, but who is holding the conductor's baton?

After Lars Ohly it's now a more popular, less staid, less complacent and more dynamic Jonas Sjöstedt and hopefully, the Social Democrats will see a better day after resolving their internal crisis by choosing a consensus leader who has broad support from the different factions that are rumoured to exist within that party.....
10:55 January 22, 2012 by PlanB
I guess he can take off the Groucho Marx eybrows, glasses, nose and moustache disguise now.
11:37 January 22, 2012 by Cornelius Hamelberg
Naoise-Ryan Israel,

Please disabuse yourself of the idea that Social Democracy is a spent force.

The latest Gallup polls in the UK have Cameron and Milliband tying at 38% each...

In Sweden the internal splintering has to be healed. Hopefully, renewal and vision will be part of that process
19:01 January 22, 2012 by Not Dumb
Juholt wasn't one of the neolib Social Democrats, and it's been widely reported that segment of the party was after him from the start. When he tried to dismiss the apartment scandal as something that is 'business as usual' in Sweden, I don't doubt that if he didn't have the neolib wing trying to topple him, he would have succeeded.

Let's face it, in a country where only 'bribery' is termed corruption, the antics of many politicians (and those well-connected to them) are arguably full of 'funny business', assorted news accounts long bemoaning the lack of accountability of these folks. I won't mention the TV show 'Starke man' (Strong man), and the way it lampoons these kinds of activities.

In my opinion, Juholt may well have acted brashly and made mistakes, but the worst part of all this is that he was considerably more decent than most of his associates, which is why he was made party leader 10 months ago. Most sadly, it seems politics rules all here these days, and if political power and connections wasn't commonly widely perceived as superseding Swedish law by a wide margin, why would Juholt have tried to dismiss the apartment scandal by suggesting these things are commonly done?

In my own experience, I have seen that it certainly seems that those Swedes with substantive political power, and those well-connected to them, can do as they will, with my perception being that regulatory authorities and courts routinely condone this. Of course, for those of us in Sweden who are of foreign roots, there have been both governmental and news reports upon the discrimination minorities and foreigners can face. Notably, if regulatory authorities and courts are prepared to allow those Swedes that are well-connected to do as they will, what kinds of problems does that present for those not of Swedish ancestry that are living, working, or doing business here, especially if they're victimized by those 'well-connected'?

Perhaps Mr. Juholt's resignation is more than a comment upon him and the Social Democrats, instead being one more indication of the deep-seated issues that are represent a societal problem in Sweden today.
19:11 January 22, 2012 by swedejane
I don't judge the man, only the moustache.
20:28 January 27, 2012 by dookifried
People. Socialism is corrupt from its core.

Leaders who claim to have the people's best interest while taking handouts under the table for their own devious purpose is par for course.

Taking your money and giving it to your neighbor is wrong.

Stop socialism. It is a cancer on hard working citizens.
11:21 January 31, 2012 by Kemi
Wow, really? No matter what your party might do in the future? No matter what!? Wow, very unnerving. This sentence alone should disqualify him for any public positions. One should only have this kind of loyalty toward truth and justice. How do you think North Korea got to where it is today, Mr. Juholt?
21:47 February 10, 2012 by sureiam
JUHOLT,,,,,,, no comment..... lol
16:41 February 24, 2012 by OUIJA
When? Is it a promise? or you are just threatening us.
14:07 March 1, 2012 by BritVik
How on earth does anyone get born into a political party? Die as a Sosse, maybe, but born as one - - -, must be a bit of poetic licence or wishful thinking.
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