Swedish PM: 'I would have preferred Hillary Clinton'

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Swedish PM: 'I would have preferred Hillary Clinton'
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven on Wednesday morning. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

UPDATED: Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said he would congratulate Donald Trump, but made no secret of his disappointment.


“I think it is an election result that worries a lot of individuals, as well as markets,” said the leader of Sweden's ruling centre-left Social Democrat-Green coalition on Swedish breakfast TV.

“I would have preferred Hillary Clinton to win, for a number of reasons. But it is also the case that Sweden will strive to have good relations with the US, no matter who becomes president,” he told public broadcaster SVT as Trump was pulling ahead in the race on Wednesday morning Stockholm time.

Asked if he would call Trump to congratulate him, he said: “We do as we usually do. When someone wins an election we congratulate them, we always do.”

Foreign Minister Margot Wallström said she and her counterparts in the rest of the EU would likely discuss what their next move would be at a scheduled meeting on Monday.

“It will be a very important opportunity to discuss what position we should take.”

Speaking to SVT, she said she felt “great uncertainty” about what a Trump presidency would mean for Sweden and the world. “There are rather extravagant statements about one thing and the other. Everything from building a wall to Mexico to security politics,” she said.

The co-leaders of Sweden's other party in government, the Greens, said that some of Trump's previous statements were worrying.

“No one can say with certainty today which kind of policies Trump will bring about once he becomes president, but what he said about security, free trade, human rights and climate policy is worrying,” Isabella Lövin and Gustav Fridolin wrote in a statement.

Swedish politicians are generally more left-leaning than the US, and their thoughts were echoed by figures within the centre-right Alliance opposition.

Annie Lööf, the leader of the Centre Party, told TV4 that “we're living in new times and populism is spreading”. “I'm saddened and very worried. There's a big knot in my stomach right now.”

Many commentators had said that a Trump win could pave the way for other anti-establishment and anti-immigration movements in the world, for example the Sweden Democrats. But its leader Jimmie Åkesson said on Wednesday that he had not been particularly impressed with either candidate.

"That they manage to produce two that rubbish candidates, it scares me a little bit," he told the Expressen tabloid. "Who would have thought? I'm not surprised that this is how it turned out. We know that there is a global movement challenging the establishment and I guess that is what has happened here."

Sofia Arkelsten from Sweden's opposition Moderate Party, who is a member of the country's Committee on Foreign Affairs, told The Local that the result in the US reflected a larger change in the global political landscape.

“I see this election as part of the great, global disintegration for social democracy,” she said.

“Social democracy isn’t necessary for voters. Bernie Sanders came a long way before they landed on Clinton as a candidate. It’s clear that populism from both directions works: both the populism of Bernie Sanders, but also the populism of Trump.” 

"We're seeing this on a global scale, that social democracy is losing contact with its voters, they're no longer necessary. We've seen it in Britain, in France, and I can also see what's happened with identity politics and some of the strange issues that Swedish social democracy has focused on. It's not in touch with the voters, it's not what voters care about," she concluded.

Prominent Liberal politician Birgitta Ohlsson told SVT meanwhile: "It is a night of sorrow in Washington D.C and a morning of disappointment in Stockholm."

"Looks like this will be the year of the double disaster of the West," tweeted former Moderate Party foreign minister and prime minister Carl Bildt.



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