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Twelve heads roll in Sweden Democrat purge

18 Mar 2013, 16:57

Published: 18 Mar 2013 16:57 GMT+01:00

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"I'm surprised that the party made such an unwise and unfounded decision," Patrik Ehn, who was forced out of the party following a 14-3 vote, told the TT news agency.

The announcement comes following an extra meeting of the party's governing board as part of an initiative launched in October by party leader Jimmie Åkesson to "clean up" the party's image.

"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 at the time, explaining the party was launching a policy of "zero tolerance".

Following a day of closed-door meetings, the party revealed on Monday afternoon that twelve people had been asked to leave the party, including Ehn, a high-profile politician from Gothenburg who last week told the Expressen newspaper there was "not a chance" he would be dismissed.

But the Sweden Democrat leadership explained that Ehn, who according to the anti-racist magazine Expo was an active member of the neo-Nazi Nordic Nationalist Party (Nordiska rikspartiet) in the 1980s, remained too close to the neo-Nazi movement and its views.

"After careful consideration, the party's governing board has concluded that Patrik Ehn's ideological home isn't with the Sweden Democrats and that he therefore can't continue to be a member," the party said in a statement, adding that Ehn's efforts to abandon extremism lacked credibility.

"The dismissal is based on the governing board's collective assessment about Ehn's political background in Nazi and extremist organizations in combination with a long series of statements and incidents."

Ehn, who sits on the local council in Gothenburg as well as in the Västra Götaland County Council, belonged to what had been called the Sweden Democrats' "Bunker-wing", a faction within the party that supported a more nationalist line, while Åkesson has emphasized the party's social conservatism.

Ehn told TT the accusations that he had ties to the neo-Nazi National Democratic Party of Germany (NDP) are "unfounded".

Despite the strong support he has among Sweden Democrats in and around Gothenburg, party secretary Björn Söder downplayed chances that the housecleaning would lead to a more open split within the party.

"I don't think there will be a split in the party, but it remains to be seen if there will be party colleagues who follow Patrick Ehn," Söder told TT following Monday's announcement.

Story continues below…

"But when everyone understands the reasons behind the expulsions, I wouldn't be surprised if they leave the party."

TT/The Local/dl

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Your comments about this article

19:47 March 18, 2013 by intrepidfox
I have nothing against SD but come on Jimmy and your gang, you all came from the far right wing. Are they trying to become clean now as it will not work as we all know your past
09:12 March 19, 2013 by RobinHood
Jimmie thinks he's going to hold the balance of power after the next election. He's probably right.

He's purging his party to make it easier for the winner to do a deal with him. Expect more of these purges in different cities from now on. Also expect an SD minister in Sweden's next government.

That is the price both major parties must pay for allowing thhe SD to bleed off their support.
09:45 March 19, 2013 by Scambaiter
Bigoted, white-bread misanthropes. No amount of PR and image management will change that fact. Sadly, a few misguided souls may still vote for them.
10:08 March 19, 2013 by calebian22
Yeap, a few misguided souls equallying 15 percent next time around. No amount of denial will change the fact that native Swedes want their government to fix the refugee/integration problem.
10:30 March 19, 2013 by Åskar
If they throw out anyone with nazi sympathies, including Jimmie Åkesson, from SD it will be a rather empty party.
10:54 March 19, 2013 by robban70226
This is the right time for the SD party to represent dissatisfaction on high unemployment, a immigration system out of control and social problems for the taxpayers in this country, The current system is looking more and more like a lot of crying babies unable to control this country, Expect surprises when the discontent of the people will send a message to the ruling party that enough is enough, Sweden is not a cash cow for any looser of the woorld to come and live free from us, If SD tone down in their Neo Nazy agenda they get my vote for sure, Time to clean this country and take better care of the ones here, Swedes and legal taxpayer foreigners.
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