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TODAY IN SWEDEN

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

Speaker mystery, rock-bottom lobster prices, government talks, and a Centre Party leader candidate: find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
The year's first lobster sold for 7,000 kronor at auction on Tuesday. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT

Sweden Democrat candidate appointed deputy speaker on second attempt

Julia Kronlid, the Sweden Democrat who was the right-wing bloc’s candidate for second deputy speaker, was voted in on the second attempt on Monday afternoon, after the first left both candidates short of a majority.

On the second vote, Kronlid, who is second deputy leader of the Sweden Democrats, received 174 votes, compared to 47 for her Green Party rival Janine Alm Ericsson. The other MPs laid down their votes.

In the first vote on the post on Monday morning, Kronlid received 173 votes, while Ericsson received 49. As no candidate had a majority, the vote had to be held again.

The vote was held by a secret ballot, making it difficult to know which MPs voted against their party line on the first attempt, and leading to frenzied speculation.

Some blamed Liberal MPs wanting to protest the decision to back a Sweden Democrat for the role; some blamed Björn Söder, the Sweden Democrat who held the role in 2014-2018 and was passed over in favour of Kronlid; some even argued it was a ‘false flag’ operation by the Sweden Democrats to aid them in the ongoing government negotiations. 

Earlier in the day, a unanimous parliament voted the Moderate Party Speaker Andreas Norlén back into the position for another four years. 

Swedish vocab: enhällig – unanimous

Price crash for season’s first Swedish lobsters

The season’s first box of Swedish lobsters has plummeted more than ten-fold in price compared to last year, with the box going for just 7,000 kronor per kilogram at the fish auction in Gothenburg, a fraction of the 77,000 kronor recorded in 2021. 

The lobster fishing season began on Monday, following Swedish rules and tradition. The record price, of 102,000 kronor a kilogram, was set in 2012. 

Swedish vocab: en bråkdel – a fraction

Right bloc talks ‘going extremely well’: Moderate leader

Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson has said that the negotiations with the Christian Democrat, Sweden Democrat, and Liberal Parties over forming the next government were progressing smoothly with the shape of Sweden’s next government starting to look clear. 

“It’s going very well. We are moving forwards step by step,” he said after Speaker Andreas Norlén announced that he would call him in for an update on the talks on Wednesday.

Kristersson said he now had “a good idea” of how the next government would look, indicating that he may have reached a broad agreement on which political parties will be part of the new government. 

He said that the “big first step”, reaching agreement on the Speaker positions and the chairs and deputy chairs of parliamentary committees, had “not been difficult” and that all four parties “had been constructive”. 

Norlén on Monday would not say how long he would give Kristersson to come to an agreement with the other parties. He would take this decision after speaking with Kristersson on Wednesday he said, adding that it was important to have an orderly process. 

Swedish vocab: en ordnad process – an orderly process 

Centre Party politicians call for Helena Lindahl to take over as leader 

A group of 20 Centre Party politicians has called for Helena Lindahl, who broke party ranks and voted against Stefan Löfven as Prime Minister in January 2019, to succeed Annie Lööf as the party’s leader. 

In an article in the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper, the politicians said that the party’s poor result in September’s election “has to be seen as a collective failure”, and called for the party to “reestablish the party’s roots in the countryside.” 

The party, they argue, needs a leader with a clear centre-right profile who can turn the party into a “stronger, greener people’s movement”. 

Lindahl was the most prominent figure to realise how damaging for the party it would be to cooperate with the Social Democrats and the Green Party, they argue. 

Swedish vocab: att förutspå – to  predict

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TODAY IN SWEDEN

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

Hungary to approve Sweden's Nato bid, Björn Söder wants king to nominate PM, Central Bank rate hike, King's mysterious death solved and ice hockey legend dead: Here's Sweden's news on Friday.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

Hungary to approve Finland and Sweden Nato accession next year: PM

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Thursday that parliament would approve Finland and Sweden’s accession to Nato next year, with only Budapest and Ankara left to green-light their application.

“As we have already informed Sweden and Finland, Hungary supports the Nato membership of these two countries. It will be on the agenda of the first session of parliament” next year, Orban told reporters after meeting regional counterparts in Slovakia.

The first session of parliament next year is scheduled to begin in February. All 30 Nato member states except Hungary and Turkey have ratified the accession of Sweden and Finland, which dropped decades of military non-alignment with bids to join Nato after Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

New members to the Nato alliance require unanimous approval. Hungary’s ruling party has repeatedly rejected scheduling a vote in parliament on the issue though the government insists it backs the two Nordic nation’s accession to Nato.

Earlier this month, Orban’s chief of staff, Gergely Gulyas, said Hungary had to pass anti-corruption reforms, closely watched by Brussels, before parliament could turn to the Nato issue.

EU member Hungary is in talks with Brussels to unlock billions of euros in EU funding currently held over corruption concerns. The Hungarian opposition has accused Orban’s party of dragging its feet by refusing to put the issue on parliament’s agenda for a vote.

The Socialist Party has called it “incomprehensible and unjustified”, while the Momentum party has accused the government of “blackmailing” the European Union.

Swedish vocab: Ungern – Hungary

Sweden Democrat: ‘King should nominate prime minister’

The King, in his role as head of state, should be responsible for nominating the next prime minister, Sweden Democrat MP Björn Söder argues in a motion he has submitted to parliament.

Currently, the speaker nominates the prime minister. Söder argues that after the election in 2018, the speaker became more involved in political maneouvring than previously.

“There is therefore a strong argument for adopting measures to separate the speaker role from the pure political games around the speaker role so it doesn’t continue to be an object of political strategy and dirty games,” Söder wrote.

“The fact that Sweden differs from other parliamentary democracies is due to a compromise struck between the Social Democrats and the liberal parties in 1971, the so-called Torekov’s Compromise,” he wrote.

Söder has proposed this multiple times without success.

Swedish vocab: statschef – head of state

Sweden’s central bank hikes key rate to highest level in 14 years

Sweden’s Riksbank central bank announced a further 75 point increase in the core interest rate on Thursday, in what it likely to be the last interest rate decision by outgoing governor Stefan Ingves.

While the 75 point hike was expected by the market, the bank signalled that it now expected rates to peak at 2.8 percent next year, up from 2.5 percent in it previous forecast. 

“Inflation is too high and it’s creating problems for many, many households and many, many others,” Ingves said at a press conference after the announcement. 

“Our judgement right now is that the core rate is going to need to be hiked again at the beginning of next year and will end up somewhere around 3 percent. This unusually high inflation that we’ve had demands unusually big increases in the core rate.” 

Thursday’s rate announcement follows the 100-point rise in interest rates announced at the end of September, the biggest single increase the central bank had made in 30 years. 

It means the country’s core interest rate will have risen from zero to 2.5 percent in less than a year.  

“The prognosis indicates that the core interest rate is probably going to be further increased at the start of next year to just under 3 percent,” the bank wrote in a press release. “The Riksbank is going to adapt monetary policy to whatever is required to make sure that inflation returns to the target level within a reasonable period.” 

Swedish vocab: styrränta – key interest rate

Researchers clear up Swedish King’s mysterious death from 1718

King Charles XII was shot to death over 300 years ago in a battle in Norway. Ever since, debate has raged as to whether he was hit by an enemy bullet or assassinated by an ally. Now, two Finnish researchers claim to have solved the mystery once and for all.

On a foggy November evening in 1718, Charles XII was killed during a siege in Norwegian Fredrikshald, now Halden. Ever since, his death has been shrouded in mystery.

The Swedish warrior king died from a bullet to the head, but there has been a great deal of speculation over the years as to whether the bullet was fired from an enemy weapon or a Swedish soldier tired of battle.

Now, researchers from Uleåborg University in Finland claim that they have solved the riddle by test-firing different kinds of ammunition, according to a study published in the PNAS Nexus scientific journal. According to Finnish researchers, Charles XII was killed by an iron bullet with a diameter of over 20 millimetres, and based on the bullet hole left in his skull, the bullet was probably travelling at a speed of around 200 metres a second.tt

This proves, the researchers claim, that the bullet came from the enemy fortress around 200 metres away from where the King died – and not from one of his own soldiers.

Swedish vocab: krigarkungen – warrior king

Swedish ice hockey legend Börje Salming dies at 71

Börje Salming, Swedish ice hockey legend and former player for the Toronto Maple Leafs died on Thursday aged 71, the team said in a statement.

Salming was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in April which he had revealed in August.

After making his name in Sweden, Salming was signed by the Maple Leafs after they watched him play in exhibition games against Canadian junior teams.

He made his NHL debut in the 1973-74 season and quickly won respect for adapting to the more physical style of North American hockey.

He became the first European born and trained player to appear in 1,000 NHL games in 1988 and the following year, after 16 years with the Maple Leafs, moved to the Detroit Red Wings for what would be his final season.

“A superior all-around defenseman and the first Swedish star ever to play in the League, Börje Salming was as physically and mentally tough as he was skillfully gifted,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told the league’s website.

“He blazed the trail that many of the greatest players in NHL history followed while shattering all of the stereotypes about European players that had been prevalent in a League populated almost entirely by North Americans before his arrival in 1973.”

Salming was part of the Sweden team that were runners-up in the 1973 World Championships in the Soviet Union, a year after they finished third in the same competition in Prague. He was also a member of the Sweden team that finished fifth in the 1992 Winter Olympics.

Swedish vocab: ishockey (or even just hockey) – ice hockey

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