• Sweden's news in English

Malmö mayor of two decades to step down

The Local · 4 Feb 2013, 09:33

Published: 04 Feb 2013 09:33 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Reepalu became mayor (kommunstyrelsens ordförande) of Sweden's third largest city, situated in the south across the Öresund sound from Copenhagen, in 1994.

He announced his planned resignation in the debate pages of the regional newspaper Sydsvenskan on Monday.

In his letter to the paper, Reepalu brought up the anti-Semitism accusations levelled against him in recent years, which brought on a visit from US President Barack Obama's special anti-Semitism representative Hannah Rosenthal.

"Badly chosen phrases on my part were misinterpreted and twisted into deeply insulting statements about my beliefs," he wrote on Monday. His chief of staff at the time said that Rosenthal had planned to visit the city before the statements were made.

Reepalu also took the opportunity to look back at the entire tenure as head of Malmö municipality and the woes facing the city.

"The death of industry and the flight of business meant the municipality had reached a gigantic 22-percent unemployment rate," he wrote about the early 1990s when the labour party took power in Malmö.

Listing the challenges he faced, Reepalu also wrote that the previous administration at city hall had left him with the biggest budget deficit in the history of Swedish municipal politics - 1.3 billion kronor ($200 million).

He decided to focus on Chalmers professor Åke E. Andersson's vision of a K-Society - knowledge, creative resources, communications, cultural capital (kunskaper, kreativa resurser, kommunikationssystem, kulturellt kapital).

"Instead of Malmö desperately trying to attract big mature industry for the workers city, a rather pointless hunt tinged with the values of the past, I wanted us to focus on welfare-creating K:s."

He criticized then prime minister and party colleague Göran Persson for not helping to upgrade Malmö's college to a university, but said the reform was near. Persson's government also, he wrote, stalled far too long in helping Malmö with major public transport investments.

Reepalu said the city now needed a new leader ahead of the 2014 elections. He would not, he said, quit politics all together but aim to replace his 80-hour week with a normal working schedule and spend more time with his grandchild.

Story continues below…

The Local/at

Follow The Local on Twitter

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

10:28 February 4, 2013 by RobinHood
The mayor turned his city into a globally recognised icon of anti-semitism; boycotted by Jewish tourists and boy scouts. The sort of place tourists to Sweden might pass right through for fear of being blown up by a bomb, attacked by a robber, shot by a gangster, or mistaken for a Jew and spat on by a Malmö citizen. The sort of place President Obama has to send his special anti-semitism representative to explain to the mayor how to behave.

Let's hope his long-overdue resignation will help detoxify this sad city's rotten reputation.
13:29 February 4, 2013 by Chloe Monroe
^^^wot he said^^^
14:47 February 4, 2013 by Orcade
I agree with RobinHood as well. Reepalu's resignation was long overdue and I hope whoever replaces him will give whatever jewish citizens still live in Malmö proper protection. Say what you want about the conflict in the middle east, but swedish jews who can trace their heritage in this country back to the 1600's and has done alot of good for this country should not have to apologize for belonging to a certain group of people and should certainly not have to withstand physical and psycological abuse.
18:15 February 4, 2013 by guliver

Well said.
19:09 February 4, 2013 by Orcade
Sadly I think that Malmö's reputation as being a city of anti-semitism is very hard to "wash off" but maybe the media exposure thanks to eurovision song contest can show another side of the city. Guliver, I saw you posting on other news regarding judaism in sweden. Do you live in Sweden now or do you live in any other country?
19:19 February 4, 2013 by johan rebel
That's about two decades too late. I was about to suggest that he retire to Gaza, but realized that he might as well stay in Malmö. Same difference!
20:01 February 4, 2013 by guliver

Well ,

I live in Israel ,but I follow for a very long time through the" Local " the news about the life of the small Jewish community in Malmo,my Dentist here was born in Malmo and immigrated to Israel many years ago and he told me that as a child they did not suffer and were not bothered as it happen in the last couple years.

My fother was born in Memel, East Preussia but managed to escape to Israel during the war ,my mother was born in Poland she arrived here with the ship Exsodus. in 1947.
21:41 February 4, 2013 by Orcade
Well, I hope things will get better for jews in Malmö and in Sweden in general. If you ever move to Sweden, I suggest you move to Stockholm or Göteborg. Maybe in the future Malmö will be safe for jews again, lets hope for it anyway. By the way, do you know if Israel will compete in ESC or will they boycott it since it is in Malmö?
07:03 February 5, 2013 by prince T
Malmö is not safe for anybody
18:15 February 5, 2013 by guliver

As Physician I travel some times to Europe ,I have never been to Sweden by now and I guess that as a tourist I will enjoy my self,as my parents immigrated here and I was born here and all my family is here I do not think to move back to Europe,I love very much my country and hope for better future...

I guess that Israel will take part in the ESC ,cultural events in Europe are still important and I hope that people over there will know to put line between political issues and cultural ones.
12:28 February 6, 2013 by Cornelius Hamelberg
It's really sad to see him go. We will be missing him terribly.
17:00 February 8, 2013 by Britt-Marie7
Good riddance! Maybe a new mayor can make Malmo the city it used to be where everyone gets along, and not one group of people think that it is OK to take over the city and make their own laws.

Hopefully, the Jewish People will once again feel safe to live here. They have given us so much, we should honor them for all the hard work, and willingness to integrate into our society.
Today's headlines
Sweden can extend border controls, EU says
A police officer carrying out a check at Sweden's border with Denmark. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

EU countries including Sweden should be granted permission to extend temporary border controls by a period of a further three months, the European Commission has decided.

Nobel Prizes
'I'd say he's arrogant but I'd be lying': Swedes on Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan performing in France. Photo: David Vincent/AP

Almost two weeks have passed since Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and he has yet to acknowledge the win. The Local asked Swedes what they think of the singer's silence.

Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast by thousands
A Swedish migration authority office in Stockholm. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

The country has also slashed its prediction for 2017.

Swedish researchers plan new trucks for women drivers
File photo of trucks in Sweden. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT

Could vehicles adapted for women attract more female truckers to the profession?

These stats show Swedish driving isn't so gender equal
File photo of a Swedish woman driving a car. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A new survey shows that few Swedish women get behind the wheel when driving with their male partner.

Revealed: Game of Thrones could be coming to Sweden
Game of Thrones cast members at the Emmy Awards in September. Photo: Jordan Strauss/AP

The producers of the hit show have asked for three rounds of location pictures of Swedish island Gotland.

Prime Minister to meet Swedish troops in Iraq
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and his Kurdish counterpart Nechervan Barzani. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister Löfven is set to meet Swedish troops in Iraq on Tuesday.

Swedish politicians wage war on winter time
Soon it will look like this on your way home from work in Sweden. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Should Sweden stick with summer time all year round?

'Don't turn the Pope into a global teddy bear'
Sweden's Queen Silvia and Princess Leonore visiting Pope Francis in the Vatican last year. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

It's time to hold the Pope to account and make sure he turns his words about reform into action, argues a minister of the Swedish Church ahead of Pope Francis' visit to Sweden.

Löfven: 'Sweden will double its number of troops in Iraq'
Stefan Löfven and Haider al-Abadi during the visit on Monday. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has promised to double his country's number of troops in Iraq following a meeting with Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi on Monday.

Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available