Why Sweden's defence minister won't back Trump
The Local · 21 Apr 2016, 10:39
Published: 21 Apr 2016 10:39 GMT+02:00
- Swedish politicians back Clinton and shun Trump (15 Mar 16)
"It's not a man I would vote for, I can tell you that," Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist told the audience while being quizzed by the moderator at a 'Meet the Minister' event in Stockholm late on Wednesday, reported Dagens Nyheter.
The minister, a top-ranking member of Sweden's centre-left Social Democrat-Green coalition government, went on to suggest that the election of a President Trump could seriously harm relations between the two countries.
"You should not speculate about what's going on in other countries. But if there are radical changes in a negative sense to a state's leadership that affects us in a way which feels like 'this does not feel good', then of course there will be consequences," he said.
"Then you have to reevaluate the situation in some way and see if we should do this in a different way, or choose to look at having some other kind of cooperation. But that's nothing you want to predict."
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Many of Trump's controversial statements about for example Muslims, Mexicans and women have grabbed global headlines in the past months. But Hultqvist said he did not think the businessman would take home the presidential contest, despite Trump winning the New York primary election on Tuesday.
"I hope that the American people, and I think they will, choose someone else who is better equipped for this task," said the Swedish minister.
"It's the general opinion in Europe, if I understand it correctly, that it is perhaps not the alternative that will benefit us the most," he added.
Hultqvist's words, albeit strong, should not come as a surprise. His boss, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, has previously said he would prefer a Democrat to win, admitting he was "worried" about the "appalling" tone of the debate on the Republican side.
Swedish politics in general tends to be more left-leaning in comparison to the US, even when you include parties such as the Moderates and the Christian Democrats, who are both seen as right or centre-right of the middle by the Swedish electorate.
When Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN) in March polled 100 Swedish members of parliament, it found that nearly half hoped Clinton would take home the US election when Americans go to the polls.