by A swedish kind of death
Fri Oct 14th, 2011 at 04:42:17 PM EST
Right now, an interesting crisis is developing in Sweden's old power party, the Social Democratic party. I am not certain where it is heading. This was the case when I started writing this morning, now it is pretty clear.
On the surface it is about the party leader Juholt and a to high expense report as a parliamentarian, but that does not appear to be the real issue.
Below the fold follows the key elements.
New party leader or Who the beep is Juholt
Mona Sahlin lost the parliament election a year ago, and was then forced to resign making her the second Swedish soc-dem party leader ever not to become prime minister (first was Claes Emil Tholin and he resigned in 1907). After she resigned she wrote an article about how they would have won had only the party let her run more to the right as she wanted to.
The process to get a new party leader was very secretive with no declared candidates until the election comittee had proposed one, then they had one.
There was of course lots of campaigning under the surface but it was really hard to make sense of.
There was no natural choice, the former Persson ministers were either out of parliament, uninterested or unelectable. Persson liked to surround himself with ministers who had a weak backing in the party, so that he could not easily be overthrown. There was a lot of speculation, and when in the end the election comittee proposed Håkan Juholt the media reaction was: Who?
Juholt was not from the party inner circle in Stockholm, in fact he is from Kalmar in east Småland. He was seen as being to he left of the Stockholm gang (though so is most of the rest of the party). And he does not look slick either:
He did however come off to a good start this summer and introduced a bit of humor in an otherwise pretty stiff political debate. His rethoric is a bit to the left of Sahlin's but words are cheap.
Go right or left?
If Juholt is anything but slick and from Stockholm, the new economical-political spokesman (in effect the oppositions candidate for finance minister) Waidelich is both:
(That is his official picture from the parliament homepage, not me trying to make him look evil.)
I figure this was some sort of compromise.
Late September, the soc-dem motion on the budget was debate within the soc-dem parliament group. Apparently, the one Waidelich (with Juholt's approval) had drafted went right and abandoned some of election planks like higher unemployment benefits. In effect, a turn to the right. The parliament group balked at this and sent it back.
The seventh of October Aftonbladet (nominally socialist, owned by conservative Norwegian media-family Schibstedt) accused Juholt. Wikipedia has the details:
|Juholtaffären - Wikipedia|| Juholtaffären - Wikipedia |
- Den 7 oktober 2011 påstod kvällstidningen Aftonbladet att Håkan Juholt har sedan 2007 fått ersättning för hans och sambons hela bostadshyra och att det stred mot riksdagens regelverk. Dessa uppgifter har ifrågasatts i efterhand av Juholts juridiska ombud Hans Strandberg, som påpekar att det inte fanns några regler om hur hyran skulle ersättas om bostaden delas med någon annan person.
- On October 7, 2011 claimed evening paper Aftonbladet that Hakan Juholt has since 2007 been compensation for his and her partner throughout housing rent and that it was contrary to parliamentary rules.  This data has been questioned retrospectively by Juholt legal counsel Hans Strandberg, who points out that there were no rules on how the rent would be replaced if the dwelling is shared with another person.
| Under förmiddagen samma dag höll Håkan Juholt i en presskonferens om Aftonbladets påstående. Juholt sade att han inte kände till regelverket, och medgav att han hade gjort fel. Senare under samma kväll beslutade sig Riksenheten mot korruption för att undersöka om Juholt har fått felaktiga bostadsersättningar eller inte.||During the morning the day was Hakan Juholt in a press conference on Aftonbladet's claim. Juholt said he did not know the rules, and admitted that he had done wrong.  Later that evening decided National Unit against Corruption to investigate whether Juholt has been wrongly mortgage payments or not.  |
After this has followed a steady drip of accusations and anonymous claims from "high-ranking soc-dems" that Juholt is about to step down. A couple of days after each accusation it has been debunked by bloggers. To take the original claim, bloggers found the form that lacked anywhere to write anything about sharing the dwelling and bloggers got the rent bills he had handed in with the form that clearly stated that the apartment was shared.
A rumour printed in the press that he claimed to much money on a foreign trip turned out to be that he had handed in a form saying he hoped to stay ten days with the Belorussian opposition but he was not sure if that would be allowed by the Belorussian authorities. He did drive there with a car full of pamphlets but was not allowed to stay the full 10 days. The cost of the trip was 11 000 sek, or about 1 200 euros. By now I am half expecting a claim of too high travel expense on two trips between Stockholm and Kalmar (out of hundreds) to be that he stopped to work in a homeless shelter on the way.
Today the formal accusations was dropped and the executive board of the soc-dems gave Juholt their vote of approval. Thus this appears to be over.
So what to make of this?
My take is that the election of Juholt was not accepted in the party elite that has been taking the party rightwards for two decades. This does not mean that Juholt is necessary left (though party insider Daniel Suhonen thinks so), it could just as well be that he was an outsider.
The trigger appears to be the budget motion, which could support the theory that it is about Juholt being left wing, but then again from the leaks he appears to have been on the right in that conflict.
The media checked nothing and published every rumour. Part is probably lazy journalism, part piling on the soc-dems from the right-wing dominated papers.
What will happen?
this is the really interesting part. If as I think this was a failed coup by the Stockhom centered party right, it could turn good, Juholt can either make peace with them by moving to the right or try to get them out of power by replacing them with party left. The second option is more in line with the party organisations tradition, if you go against the party leader and loose you are out in the cold. But then, who knows?