“For me, Swedishness is about tolerance, about openness, about helping people and giving people the chance to build a good life,” she tells The Local, adding that it’s a political ideology she hopes to take with her to Brussels if elected.
“It’s a recipe for success, it has buoyed Sweden through many crises,” says Cetin, who also wore national costume to announce her candidature to the European elections in 2014. She currently works as an ombudsman in Dalarna County, after working as a political aid to the municipal leadership in Södertälje.
“Wearing national dress on the Sweden Democrats’ day was sending a very clear message that we should not hand over the concept of Swedishness to forces that are against Sweden,” she said.
“The Sweden Democrats are Sweden-hostile.”
Cetin said she considers herself more Swedish than the Sweden Democrats because she loves nine million Swedes, whereas the party only loves about five million.
“They only love some Swedes, I love all of them.”
She chose the national dress – the classic attire which is the perhaps the most recognized by foreign-born eyes because the royal family dons it for National Day on June 6th. Dark blue cloth, with a yellow apron. The bodice embroidered with daisies.
Why did Cetin not choose the regional version from her native Hälsingland County in northern Sweden?
“Because I wanted to represent all of Sweden.”
The stunt brought her nothing but positive feedback on the cobble-stone streets of Visby. By Thursday, she was back in civilian attire, locking horns with Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag, whose job she does not think should exist.
“It’s not personal, Erik, I like you, but I don’t think you should be minister of integration,” she told the minister.
“I don’t know what it means to be integrated, to become integrated. And I wouldn’t even ask you to sum it up in two sentences.”
Editor’s Note: The Local’s Swede of the week is someone in the news who – for good or ill – has revealed something interesting about the country. Being selected as Swede of the Week is not necessarily an endorsement.