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Swedish Greens vote in their new co-leaders

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Swedish Greens vote in their new co-leaders
Gustav Fridolin and Isabella Lövin. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT
10:07 CEST+02:00
UPDATED: The Swedish Green Party has officially voted in Isabella Lövin and Gustav Fridolin as their future co-leaders.

Fridolin was chosen to stay on as co-leader of the Greens, the junior partner of the Social Democrat-led coalition government, with 200 out of 271 votes. Lövin meanwhile was voted in by 229 votes.

The party's annual conference comes just days after Fridolin's now former colleague Environment Minister Åsa Romson confirmed she would be stepping down, following a nominating committee's decision to replace her at the helm of the party with Lövin, who is the Minister for International Development Cooperation.

Romson took to the stage on Friday morning to address the audience in her farewell speech.

"It's been fun to no end to help make the Green Party's environment policies a reality. It would have been fun to continue and it is always difficult to feel that you're not needed. But it will never compromise the pride I feel about this," she said.

Her ousting was sparked by a stressful few weeks for the Greens. In mid-April it emerged that their then housing minister, Mehmet Kaplan, had kept company with Turkish extremists. A clip was subsequently unearthed of Kaplan comparing Israel to Nazi Germany, resulting in his resignation.

The turmoil didn't stop there. Next to resign was Yasri Khan, who left the party after controversy broke out when he refused to shake a female journalist's hand.

Another gaffe soon followed when co-leader Romson mistakenly referred to the 9/11 terrorist attacks as “accidents”.

READ ALSO: Green leader steps down as government minister

The party's annual conference got off to a rocky start on Friday, after red paint designed to look like fake blood as well as pictures of crumbling buildings were left outside the central Karlstad building over Thursday night.

“There were pictures of explosions and things like that (…) some kind of red paint that we suspect is supposed to represent blood, which has been poured over a two by two metre area,” Värmland Police duty officer Morgan Connedal told Aftonbladet.

“We are treating it as illegal hate against a group. It's a serious offence,” he added.

Despite the heightened tension and apparent threat towards the party's gathering this weekend, Green Party security chief Agnetha Boström insisted it would still take place as scheduled.

“The congress will go ahead as planned,” she told Aftonbladet. “We're letting the police deal with it. We're aware of what happened.”

Later on Friday, the Communist Party in Sweden, which is not represented in parliament, claimed responsibility in an interview with the newspaper Proletären. Its chairman said it had not been intended as a threat, but rather a protest against Sweden moving closer to Nato and the use of Jas Gripen jets in Libya in 2011.

"We have understood through other media that it has been perceived as a threat. No one has any reason to feel threatened. I don't know if the journalists have seen the flyers or are just using second-hand information. We thought it was really clear that the flyers were about Nato and Libya, and definitely weren't a threat," said Anders Wiklund.

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