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PM reshuffles cabinet as parliament opens

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PM reshuffles cabinet as parliament opens
14:55 CEST+02:00
Sweden's parliament officially opened on Tuesday with Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt announcing an unexpected reshuffle in his cabinet, which saw new ministers for employment and international development.

Reinfeldt announced at his eighth opening of parliament on Tuesday that Gunilla Carlsson would be leaving her position as Minister for International Development Cooperation.

Carlsson will be replaced by Hillevi Engström, who has been Sweden's Minister for Employment. Carlsson has not revealed what she will work with next, but said that she "truly had fun every day" during her stint as minister.

Reinfeldt stated at a press conference later on Tuesday that the pair were in agreement that she move on.

"Gunilla and I have spoken for a time about this and we can now announce that Gunilla wants to do something else," Reinfeldt said. "This is something we are completely in agreement about."

The prime minister added that Elisabeth Svantesson, an Örebro native who has been a member of parliament since 2006, would take over from Engström as employment minister.

The fact that Svantesson was a member of Livets Ord, the largest parish within the Swedish Word of Faith movement, raised a number of questions during the press conference.

When pressed why she was a member and why she left, Svantesson refused to comment.

"I have faith. Which church I go to or don't go to is something I think is truly private," she told reporters.

She was also asked if she was still a supporter of the anti-abortion movement.

"I think the question of abortion is complex. It was really black and white when I was younger. I stand behind the government's policies," she responded.

The news of the replaced ministers came as a surprise following the prime minister's opening of parliament speech and proposed legislations.

"We will continue to make the whole of Sweden a better country for everyone," Reinfeldt said during the annual conference, in which the prime minister of Sweden lays out the direction of government policy.

"We will continue to put jobs first. We want to restore the value of work and combat exclusion. The objective is full employment."

Reinfeldt opened talks by tackling issues outside Sweden's borders.

"The end of the summer and beginning of the autumn have regrettably seen an escalation in the level of conflict in the world. A war-torn Syria and violence in Egypt are powerful reminders of human vulnerability to evil and harmful forces. Here in Sweden, a country that has enjoyed peace for so long, it is difficult to take in the brutality brought by war."

He added the importance in Sweden of such values such as freedom, security, gender equality, and openness.

"The government upholds these values and their components. Moreover, we are adding new pieces to the picture. We want to make a good country even better", he said.

TT/The Local/og

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