Nyamko Sabuni resigns as leader of Sweden’s troubled Liberal Party

Nyamko Sabuni has announced that she is resigning as leader of the Liberal Party, shortly after she was widely condemned for appearing to say she would flee to Norway if Sweden was attacked.

Nyamko Sabuni resigns as leader of Sweden's troubled Liberal Party
Nyamko Sabuni arrives at the press conference to announce her resignation. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

“I am who I am with all the strengths and weaknesses,” she said at a press conference announcing her resignation. “In June, 2019, the party chose the whole me, but the whole me is not what is now needed. The whole me and the discussion over the whole me is overshadowing what is most important.” 

Johan Pehrson, Sabuni’s current deputy, will take over as the new leader. 

The resignation came after she faced strong criticism because of a YouTube video released by the Liberal Party which shows Sabuni discussing the security situation with Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson. 

In it she talks about the advantages of living out in the countryside, particularly in her home region in Värmland, in the event of a war. 

“If there’s a war, we have Skillingmark in Värmland, where we can find our own food and water. If it gets any worse, then we’ll drive over to Norway,” she said in the video

After the clip went viral, Sabuni defended it in an interview with Dagens Nyheter as a “light-hearted conversation where we were fantasising about where we would most want to be [in the case of a war].” she said. 

Swedish Radio’s political commentator Tomas Ramberg said that he didn’t think that the decision had been long planned in advance, but did not think it was in response to the reaction from the clip either. 

Since taking over as leader of the party in June, 2019, Sabuni has pulled the party back into the right-wing opposition, breaking off the January Agreement under which the Liberal Party and Centre Party supported a Social Democrat prime minister. 

She has at the same time upset many in her party by deciding that it will back a right-wing government that is dependent on the support of the far-Right Sweden Democrats. 

Perhaps the main reason for her departure, however, is the poor polling figures the party has had under her leadership, which now put it just over two percent, well below the four percent needed to enter the parliament. 

“This is a task which I’m taking on with energy and humility,” Pehrson said in a press release. “The Liberals are the key to a liberal, right-wing government, and I am now ready to lead the Liberals through a historic election campaign.” 

Member comments

  1. She is quite right to think like that : Norway is a founding NATO member, and has the full protection of NATO from external military threats. Sweden should apply for membership of NATO.

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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.