Sweden Democrats Split Centre-Right Parties While Cars Continue to Burn in the Streets

Sweden, 16 Aug - 12 Sep 2016
Raw over Sweden Democrats in the centre-right party spectrum ++ Cars in the streets set on fire across the country ++ Nobel Committee fires expert after patients died in medical scandal. by Maciej Wilga
Raw over Sweden Democrats in the centre-right party spectrum

The Sweden Democrats (SD), currently the third largest force in the federal parliament with 49 seats, have caused trouble in Swedish politics for quite a while. In the past weeks, the split went right across the centre-right wing political parties. The Christian Democrats (KD) leader Ebba Busch Thor said in an interview that she does not consider the nationalist far-right Sweden Democrats as a racist party. As if breaking a taboo, her words sent strong waves through the entire political landscape in Sweden.

The debate was caused when Jimmie Åkesson, chairman of the Sweden Democrats, declared that his party could enter an alternative coalition-government together with the liberal-conservative Moderate Party (M) and the Christian Democrats after the 2018 election. Saying that the SD is not a racist party, Ebba Busch Thor later corrected her original words specifying that “if one looks at the current SD programme, one cannot say it is racist”. Though, she added, “the party’s history and the people in the party are racist”.

Asked during a TV appearance about a possible cooperation with the SD, Moderate Party leader Anna Kinberg Batra avoided a clear answer. She replied, however, after being pressured that the SD “blame all problems on immigration and that is racist”. She also avoided a clear answer on whether or not her party would tolerate support from the SD to govern the country.

Annie Lööf, leader of The Centre Party (C), said the SD had racist roots and that there was little to cooperate on. The leader of the Liberals (L), Jan Björklund, also declared on behalf of his party that the SD should be invited to different talks because otherwise, “they actually gain from the position of being martyred”.

On the government side, social democratic Prime Minister Stefan Löfven (SAP) has excluded any form of cooperation with the SD. He said on Swedish Radio that the SD is “a racist party whose roots lie in the white supremacist movement”. He added “I can never work together with such a party and I will never do”.

Cars in the streets set on fire across the country

Already in July and August, Sweden experienced problems with motorcars being set on fire in the city of Malmö, especially in the troubled area of Rosengård. This trend has continued since. Recently, about another 70 vehicles were set on fire on nine consecutive nights in Malmö. Around 25 cars were set on fire in the city of Norrköping and several others were also set alight overnight in other towns across Sweden.

Although emergency services were able to control the fires, the damages were immense and citizens scared. Police and emergency personnel reacted swiftly in the burning incidents, in most cases within just few minutes. Some fires in Malmö broke out simultaneously, “but we had no problems handling all incidents,” said the emergency control room officer Gustaf Sandell. A large number of cars have been completely destroyed, a police control officer said. The perpetrators are at large but police took measures to control the situation and called upon the public to be vigilant.

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven (SAP) said that more police will be sent into the troubled areas. He said the government “will do all it can”, but “no government can promise all crime to disappear”. Additional measures are also considered such as installing surveillance cameras in certain areas, toughening sentences for perpetrators or more preventive social work. “We want to speed up the judicial process in this situation”, the Justice Minister Morgan Johansson said. Despite all the measures taken, vehicles continue burning in Sweden.

Nobel Committee fires expert after patients died in medical scandal

The Nobel Committee has fired two of its members after a number of patients have died in the Stockholm based prestigious Karolinska Institute (KI) and hospital. The president of the KI, Harriet Wallberg, had to step down from her institute post and from the Nobel Panel in Physiology or Medicine that awards prizes every year.

The justification for heavy allegations of misconduct and mismanagement at the KI was the Macchiarini scandal. An Italian surgeon named Paolo Macchiarini employed by the KI in 2010 carried out experimental synthetic operations leading to the death of several patients. The cases are now under investigation by the police on suspicion of involuntary human killing.

A recently released report heavily criticised the KI for mismanagement and research misconduct. The investigator, Kjell Asplund, director of the Central Ethical Review Board and of the Swedish Medical Research Council, reprimanded among other things lack of knowledge and respect for rules, neglect of patients’ security and use of doubtful transplant operation methods.

Although ex-Institute president Wallberg fired back on the criticism explaining the circumstances from her perspective, the confidence in the prestigious medical institute is now considerably damaged.

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