Borg and Batra climb up list of powerful Swedes

Unlike Samson, Finance Minister Anders Borg seems not to have been deprived of his powers after chopping off that signature ponytail, as he sprinted past the prime minister in an annual ranking of Sweden's most powerful people.

Borg and Batra climb up list of powerful Swedes
Anna Kinberg Batra and Anders Borg of the Moderate Party both landed in the top ten. File photo montage: TT/The Local

While Borg was quick to underscore that ruling the country was a "team effort", Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt had to make do with second place on the list, published on Friday by Fokus Magazine.

Fokus political editor Torbjörn Nilsson explained Borg's rise was related to the fact that all actual power had been moved over to the finance ministry,  

"Number two on the list lets this politician, who's never put his name forward in any internal election, do what he wants. Power in Sweden 2013 belongs to this newly short-haired man," the editors commented in the official list.

Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven maintained his hold on the number three spot, while Riksbank head Stefan Ingves jumped to fourth place, up from the tenth spot last year.

Jimmie Åkesson, head of the anti-immigration, far-right Sweden Democrats climbed to spot number five, up from 19th place in the 2012 ranking.

Anna Kinberg Batra of the Moderate Party also saw her star rise in the Fokus list, jumping from 15th to tenth place, the only other woman in the top ten besides Social Democrat financial policy spokeswoman Magdelena Andersson, who landed in ninth.

Fokus editors underlined that Kinberg Batra is a more likely successor to the leadership of the Moderate Party, and thus the bid for the prime minister post in the future, than Borg. 

With two women on the list, 2013 represented a 100 percent increase in females in the top-ten compared to last year.

READ ALSO: One woman makes Sweden's power top ten

"Power is still a very sensitive topic. Everybody wants it, nobody wants to talk about it," Fokus editor-in-chief Martin Ahlquist wrote in an editorial that underlined two trends in this year's list. That many Sweden Democrats were advancing in the ranking and that the boundary between politicians and businesspeople was becoming increasingly blurred, a trend which The Local has reported on previously

Ahlquist also pointed to the overwhelming whiteness of the list. 

"It is striking to what extent our powerbrokers, regardless of what part of society they represent, are to a large extent light skinned," he wrote. 

The first page of the Fokus spread, stretching all the way down to an oddly sun-burnt pic of former PM Göran Persson at spot 22, features people with Western European backgrounds. 

Exceptions on the list included Social Democrat rising star Ardalan Shekarabi in 68th place and author Jonas Hassen Khemiri at number 95, although there are a number of other people on the list who may have family ancestry outside Sweden such as like Dagens Nyheter (DN) managing editor Peter Wolodarski, whose parents came to Sweden from Poland in the 1960s.

Fokus Magazine's top ten most powerful people

1) Anders Borg, Moderate Party finance minister

2) Fredrik Reinfeldt, Moderate Party leader and prime minister

3) Stefan Löfven, Social Democrat leader

4) Stefan Ingves, head of the Swedish national bank the Riksbank

5) Jimmie Åkesson, Sweden Democrat leader

6) Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson, head of the Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO)

7) Carl Bildt, Moderate Party foreign minister

8) Jan Björklund, Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) leader, education minister, and depute prime minister

9) Magdalena Andersson, Social Democrat shadow finance minister

10) Anna Kinberg Batra, Moderate Party leader in parliament

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Swedish political parties call for ban on conversion therapy

Multiple political parties in Sweden's parliament want to ban so-called conversion therapy, which aims to change young LGBT+ individuals’ sexual orientation.

Swedish political parties call for ban on conversion therapy

The Liberals have campaigned for a ban for some time, and a motion has now been submitted to parliament by the Social Democrats. Now, the Moderates and the Centre Party are joining them in calling for conversion therapy to be made illegal, Sweden’s public broadcaster Radio Ekot reports.

“The entire idea is that homosexuality is an illness which can and should be treated. That is, obviously, completely incorrect and a very out-of-place view in a modern society,” Centre’s spokesperson on legal issues, Johan Hedin, told the radio.

Conversion therapy consists of subjecting LGBT+ individuals to pressure or force to hide their sexuality or gender identity. According to MUCF, the Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society, it occurs “to a not insignificant extent” in Sweden.

“We think there should be a ban. Sweden should be a tolerant country, where nonsense like this quite simply shouldn’t be allowed to happen,” Johan Forssell, the Moderate’s legal spokesperson told Radio Ekot.