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Sweden Democrats launch party 'clean out'

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Sweden Democrats launch party 'clean out'
10:15 CEST+02:00
Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson has announced that there is a need to "clean up" the party rank and file after a slew of controversial comments by members, stating that there is no place for racism in the party.

"We have to put our foot down and state that enough is enough. We need a major clear out," Åkesson told the TT news agency.

"We have a problem and we are not afraid to admit it," he added.

In a letter to the party's elected officials, Åkesson declared that "from now on there is zero tolerance and the work to clean up in the ranks is given the highest priority".

Åkesson has decided to act to law down the law in the party after a continuous stream of controversial comments by local politicians within the party since the 2008 election.

Among the comments which have gained attention include racism and homophobia, and that there should be a "bounty" placed on the head of the prime minister.

In his letter, Åkesson calls on all those who feel targeted to resign their posts and leave the party without delay.

"This would save us a great deal of work. Those who decide to stay on anyway will soon be subject to disciplinary proceedings and expulsion," he wrote.

Jimmie Åkesson explained the timing of the letter in that something had to be done to curb the stream of controversy, saying that the number of incidents "are quite simply too many".

He explained that the problem has arisen because the party has experienced such rapid growth and has thus attracted unsuitable people and caused problems for the party's progress.

"For us this is absolutely crucial. The lack of credibility has held us back before. Many lack confidence in our party because of individual examples such as these."

Åkesson underlined in his letter that there is no place within the party for "extremists, racists, dogmatists or others with a personal need for political or private excesses".

"We will not accept any deviation in any form. We might have been a little too naive and kind," Åkesson said.

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