Löfven speaks out on Mustafa departure

Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven spoke out on Friday about the contentious departure of Omar Mustafa, blaming the mess on his party's organizational skills and a negligent nomination process for selecting its governing board.

Löfven speaks out on Mustafa departure

“It’s no secret, this hasn’t worked well enough – far from it,” Löfven said at a press conference on Friday afternoon.

“The nomination process showed negligence and that’s unacceptable. A party needs to stay organized.”

Löfven’s comments come following a storm of controversy, which began when Omar Mustafa was chosen to sit on the governing board of the left-of-centre opposition party at last weekend’s party congress.

Mustafa also acts as the chairman of the Islamic Association (Islamiska förbundet) in Sweden, a group which has invited speakers to Sweden with known anti-Semitic views – a fact that emerged just days after Mustafa was elected to the party’s governing board.

Mustafa publicly distanced himself from all anti-Semitism and racial agitation. However, it wasn’t enough for Löfven who issued an ultimatum which led to Mustafa’s departure on Saturday, with the ousted board member claiming he was “forced out”.

At the press conference on Friday, Löfven explained that the Social Democrats had zero tolerance for anyone not sharing the party’s values.

“There can be no uncertainty, if you represent our party you have to stand up for our values,” he told reporters.

TT/The Local/og

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PM: Social Democrats could decide on Nato on May 15th

Sweden's Prime Minister has said that her party has brought forward the date for a decision on Nato membership by ten days, meaning a decision could be in place before a state visit by Finland's president in mid-May.

PM: Social Democrats could decide on Nato on May 15th

The decision had previously been tabled for a meeting of the party board on May 24th, but could now be taken at an extra meeting of the Social Democrats ruling committee on May 15th, Magdalena Andersson said at a press conference on Thursday. 

“We will of course discuss the issue and then we can see if we feel ready to take a decision or not,” she said at a Ukraine donors’ conference in Warsaw. 

She said that the security guarantees Sweden has received from the US and Germany for the period between a possible application and full Nato membership were significant. 

“It means a lot if Sweden chooses to send in an application, that we will be safer during the period up until we become members than we otherwise would be,” she said. 

“The party committee can take a decision then,” Party secretary Tobias Baudin he told Sweden’s TT newswire of the May 15th meeting. 

The meeting will come just two days after the Swedish government’s ‘security policy analysis group’, which includes representatives from all political parties, is due to submit its own reassessment of Sweden’s security situation. 

“It depends on what the security policy dialogue shows,” Baudin says of the decision. “Right now meetings in party districts are going at full pace.” 

The May 15th meeting will take place on the Sunday before the week when Finland’s Iltalehti and Sweden’s Expressen newspaper last month reported Finland and Sweden had already decided to jointly announce a decision to join Nato.

Finland’s president, Sauli Niinistö, is due to visit Stockholm on 17th May and 18 May on a state visit, where he will be hosted by King Karl XVI Gustaf.  

The meeting of the Social Democrats’ ruling committee will come shortly after the party holds three digital members’ meetings on security policy, on May 9th, May 10th and May 12th (although these may also be brought forward). 

There is still resistance in the party’s rank and file, with at least three of the party’s powerful leagues still openly opposed to joining: 

  • The Social Democratic Women in Sweden voted last week to continue its opposition to Nato membership.
  • The Swedish Social Democratic Youth League has said it would prefer Sweden to bolster its security through the EU.
  • The Religious Social Democrats of Sweden has said that it believes the decision should not be rushed through at a time of conflict.  
  • The Social Democrat Students’ League has said that it wants to wait until it has seen the security police analysis before taking a decision. 

None of these leagues can block membership, however. It is the Social Democrats’ ruling party committee which is empowered to take the decision.