Mona Sahlin: Wikis

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Mona Sahlin during the Swedish National Day celebrations at Skansen, Stockholm, on 6 June 2009.

Incumbent
Assumed office 
17 March 2007
Preceded by Göran Persson

Born 9 March 1957 (1957-03-09) (age 53)
Sollefteå, Västernorrland County
Political party Social Democrats

Mona Ingeborg Sahlin (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈmoːna saˈliːn] née Andersson; born 9 March 1957) is a Swedish politician and the current leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party.

Sahlin has been a Member of Parliament, representing Stockholm County, from 1982 to 1996 and again since 2002. She has also held various ministerial posts in the Swedish government from 1990 to 1991, from 1994 to 1995 and from 1998 to 2006. Sahlin was elected new leader of the Social Democratic Party on 17 March 2007, succeeding Göran Persson who resigned as leader following the defeat in the 2006 general election.[1] Sahlin is the first female leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party.

Contents

Youth and education

Sahlin was born Mona Ingeborg Andersson in Sollefteå, Västernorrland County, Sweden. Her father, Hans Andersson, worked at different ungdomsvårdsskolor (community homes or reformatories), forcing the family to move frequently. In the mid 1960s they moved to Järla in Stockholm County where they remained. Her father later became an advisor to former Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson.

In 1964, at the age of seven, Sahlin founded the Swedish "Barbie Club" (Barbieklubben). During her childhood she also enjoyed soccer and music. In Melodifestivalen 1969 (the selection for the song to represent Sweden at the 1969 Eurovision Song Contest) Sahlin performed as one of the back up singers to Jan Malmsjö. The song was written by Benny Andersson and Lasse Berghagen and it came in second place.

Sahlin was educated at Nacka Samskola and Södra Latin in Stockholm and completed secondary school in 1977. From 1976 to 1977 she was vice chairperson of the Swedish Students' Association (Swedish: Elevförbundet). Thereafter she worked at a private company and later as a trade union representative for the Swedish National Union of State Employees.

Political career

Sahlin's political career began in the Swedish Social Democratic Youth League in Nacka, Stockholm County, in 1973, at the age of 16. This was during the Vietnam War, and already as a 13-year-old Sahlin had joined the Swedish FNL group.[2]

In the Swedish general election of 1982 Sahlin was elected to the Riksdag as the youngest member of parliament at that time. In 1990, she became Minister for Employment, but after the Social Democrats lost power in the 1991 election, Sahlin began to serve as chairman of the Riksdag's Committee on the Labour Market and as spokesman for the Social Democrats on labour market issues. From 1992 to 1994 she was party secretary, a post she left to rejoin the government as Minister for Gender Equality and Deputy Prime Minister, when the Social Democrats regained power in the 1994 election.

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Toblerone affair

In October 1995 the newspaper Expressen revealed that Sahlin, who was then serving as Deputy Prime Minister and was widely seen as the main candidate to succeed Ingvar Carlsson as Prime Minister, had charged more than 50,000 Swedish kronor for private expenses on her working charge card, which was only for working expenses.[3] She had used the card to buy clothes, and to rent a private car (the money was always repaid, and Sahlin described how she saw use of the card as "advance pay"). Sahlin also claimed that the work charge card and her private charge card looked exactly the same and that some of the work charges were unintentionally debited as personal expenses. Sahlin decided to take the case to court to prove her innocence and be cleared of all accusations of misconduct. During this controversy it was also revealed that Sahlin had many unpaid parking fines at the Swedish Enforcement Administration, and that she often had missed or been late in paying her children's kindergarten fees.[4]

On 16 October 1995 Sahlin declared that she would take a time out from politics, and on 10 November she announced her resignation from the Swedish government as well as the Social Democratic Party leadership candidacy.[4] She left her seat in the parliament in April 1996 but continued to sit as a member of the executive council of the Social Democrats. The criminal charges against her were eventually dropped. The controversy was dubbed as the "Toblerone affair" after a statement Sahlin made during a press conference when she said: "I bought two Toblerone, diapers and cigarettes".

In 1996 Sahlin's autobiography Med mina ord ("With My Words") was published. The book dealt mostly with the Toblerone affair.

Break from politics and return

From 1996 to 1997, Sahlin worked as a self-employed owner of a small company and as a television reporter. In 1997 she was elected chairman of the European Council Against Racism and in 1998 she became the head of the Social Democratic youth education school Bommersvik.

Sahlin returned to national politics in 1998, when then Prime Minister Göran Persson appointed her as Minister without Portfolio. She served first in the Ministry for Industry, Employment and Communication from 1998 to 2002, then from 2002 to 2004 in the Ministry of Justice as "Minister for Democracy and Integration", and from 2004 to 2006 in the Ministry of Sustainable Development as "Minister for Sustainable Development".

Social Democratic Party leadership

After the Social Democratic defeat in the 2006 election, Göran Persson announced his retirement as party leader on the election night. It was clear that the party now wanted a female leader. Mona Sahlin was mentioned as a possible successor, but not considered to be the most likely candidate. Both Margot Wallström and Carin Jämtin received stronger support amongst local and regional party organisations. Ulrica Messing was also mentioned as a possible candidate. Wallström, Jämtin and Messing declared however that they would not stand for the post and instead supported Sahlin, leaving Mona Sahlin as the only serious candidate. On 18 January she was officially asked by the party's Election Committee to stand as party leader, and accepted. On 17 March she was unanimously elected at the extra party congress in Stockholm.

In January 2007, support for the new centre-right government of Sweden had dropped greatly in the polls, which showed the left bloc (including the Green Party) as having much stronger support. This provided Mona Sahlin, as leader of the biggest opposition party, with excellent opportunities to lead the opposition against PM Fredrik Reinfeldt.[5] By April 2009 however, the support had waned and a Demoskop poll published in Expressen showed the four party Alliance claimed a combined 50 percent voter support while the Sahlin-lead opposition had 45.2 percent.[6] Later the same month a Sifo poll showed just 27 percent of Swedes confident or extremely confident in her leadership ability, while support for Reinfeldt was 60 percent.[7]

Mona Sahlin (second from the right) and the top Social Democratic Party candidates for the European Parliament elections in 2009.

Mona Sahlin is often described as a scion of the party's more moderate members, and a number of left-wing party members criticised her candidacy for party leader. Much of this criticism was silenced in January 2007 when the chairman of the Trade Union Confederation, Wanja Lundby-Wedin, expressed full support for Sahlin[8] as well as several powerful party districts around the country.[9][10]

In the election to the European Parliament held on 7 Juni 2009 – Sahlin's first election as party leader – the Social Democratic Party received 24.41 percent of the votes (a slight reduction from the 2004 election in which the party received 24.56 percent). The result was the lowest for the Social Democratic Party since the introduction of universal suffrage in Sweden in 1921.[11] In a speech before trade unionists during the election campaign on 12 May 2009, Sahlin said: "If there's not a plus in front of our figures it's a deep failure".[12]

Controversies

  • In 1990 the newspaper Expressen reported that Sahlin had employed a nanny to take care of her children without paying the employment tax.[4]
  • In 1993 it was revealed that Sahlin had not paid her television license, which is a criminal offense in Sweden.[4]
  • In 1995 the Toblerone affair was revealed, see above.
  • In 2002 Sahlin's car was prohibited from being driven, yet received a number of parking tickets during this time. Sahlin has in fact received numerous parking tickets (98 in just one year) and many have gone to the Swedish Enforcement Authority. Eventually the government gave her a reserved parking space to solve the matter.
  • Sahlin has been harshly criticised by Enn Kokk, a former high-ranking official of the Social Democratic Party who worked closely with Sahlin for many years. Kokk described Sahlin as a politician who makes political decisions based on public opinion trends rather than on personal conviction and knowledge. Kokk also criticized Sahlin for often not living up to her commitments, often missing important meetings, including meetings on the international level.[13]

Personal life

Mona Sahlin has one brother and two sisters. Her brother, Janne "Japop" Andersson, used to be the lead singer of the pop group Japop and owns his own production company. Her sister Lena (Ridemar) is director of negotiation at the Swedish Union of Tenants (Swedish: Hyresgästföreningen) and her other sister works at SEB (Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken).

In 1976 Sahlin met the Chilean David Peña at a Social Democrat youth camp in Kramfors. Their daughter Ann-Sofie was born in 1978, but the relationship only lasted for a few years. In 1982 she married her current husband Bo Sahlin, with whom she has had three children: Jenny (born 1983), Gustav (born 1989), and Johan who died after ten months as a result of heart failure. Sahlin has talked openly about the death of her son Johan.

Bibliography

  • Sahlin, Mona (1996). Med mina ord. Stockholm: Rabén Prisma. ISBN 91-518-3006-X. 

References

  1. ^ "Mona Sahlin har tagit över" (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter. 2007-03-17. http://www.dn.se/DNet/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=1042&a=629540. Retrieved 2007-03-18. 
  2. ^ Molin, Kari (2007-01-18). "Klart att hon kan, vill och törs" (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter. http://www.dn.se/?a=607379. Retrieved 2007-01-24. 
  3. ^ Triches, Robert: Nu är Tobleroneaffären historia (Swedish), Aftonbladet, March 16, 2007
  4. ^ a b c d Svensson, Britta (2007-01-05). "Nej det handlade inte bara om Toblerone..." (in Swedish). Expressen. http://www.expressen.se/1.511241. Retrieved 2007-01-24. 
  5. ^ Brors, Henrik (2007-01-19). "Sahlin får börja på topp" (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter. http://www.dn.se/?a=607983. Retrieved 2007-01-24. 
  6. ^ "Alliance overtakes opposition: poll". The Local. 2009-04-04. http://www.thelocal.se/18674/20090404/. Retrieved 2009-05-08. 
  7. ^ "Sahlin hit by massive crisis of confidence". The Local. 2009-04-09. http://www.thelocal.se/18748/20090408/. Retrieved 2009-05-08. 
  8. ^ "LO-basen stöder Mona Sahlin" (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter. 2007-01-09. http://www.dn.se/?a=603838. Retrieved 2007-01-10. 
  9. ^ "Växande stöd för Sahlin" (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter. 2007-01-10. http://www.dn.se/?a=604145. Retrieved 2007-01-10. 
  10. ^ Hamrud, Annika (2007-01-06). "Göteborg vill ha Sahlin som s-ledare" (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter. http://www.dn.se/?a=602998. Retrieved 2007-01-10. 
  11. ^ "”Framgången” var sämsta valresultatet någonsin". Svenska Dagbladet. 2009-06-12. http://www.svd.se/opinion/ledarsidan/artikel_3050533.svd. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  12. ^ "S medger inte dåligt resultat". Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå. 2009-06-08. http://svt.se/2.109698/1.1586978/s_medger_inte_daligt_resultat. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  13. ^ Kokk, Enn (2006-10-23). "Partiledarfrågan - en fråga om riktning, inte bara person" (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 2007-01-16. http://64.233.183.104/search?q=cache:zJgTiPubERcJ:enn.kokk.se/%3Fp%3D495+http://enn.kokk.se/%3Fp%3D495&hl=sv&gl=se&ct=clnk&cd=1. Retrieved 2007-01-20. 

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Ingela Thalén
Minister for Employment
1990 – 1991
Succeeded by
Börje Hörnlund
Preceded by
Bengt Westerberg
Deputy Prime Minister
1994 – 1995
Succeeded by
Lena Hjelm-Wallén
Minister for Gender Equality
1994 – 1995
Succeeded by
Leif Blomberg
Preceded by
Margareta Winberg
Minister for Employment
1998 – 2002
Succeeded by
Hans Karlsson
Preceded by
Ulrica Messing
Minister for Integration
2000 – 2002
Succeeded by
Jens Orback
(Minister for Democracy, Metropolitan Affairs, Integration and Gender Equality)
Preceded by
Britta Lejon
(Minister for Democracy)
Minister for Democracy and Integration
2002 – 2003
Preceded by
Margareta Winberg
(Minister for Gender Equality)
Minister for Democracy, Integration and Gender Equality
2003 – 2004
Preceded by
Lena Sommestad
Minister for the Environment
2004 – 2005
Succeeded by
Lena Sommestad
Preceded by
Office created
Minister for Sustainable Development
2005 – 2006
Succeeded by
Office ceaded
Party political offices
Preceded by
Göran Persson
Chairman of the Swedish Social Democratic Party
2007 – present
Succeeded by
Incumbent

Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Mona Ingeborg Sahlin, née Andersson, (born March 9, 1957) is a Swedish politician and leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party (Socialdemokraterna) since March 17, 2007.

Sourced

  • Swedes are so boring, we should get inspiration from the East. Islam could liven Sweden up.
    • Mona Sahlin, Euroturk, August 12, 2005.
  • I think that's what makes many Swedes jealous of immigrant groups. You have a culture, an identity, a history, something that brings you together. And what do we have? We have Midsummer's Eve and such silly things.
    • Mona Sahlin in a speech to the Turkish youth organization Euroturk, March, 2002.
  • If you're a social democrat, then you think it's cool to pay taxes. For me, tax is the finest expression for what politics really is.
    • Mona Sahlin in Swedish television, September 8, 1994.
  • If two equally qualified persons apply for a job at a workplace with few immigrants, the one called Mohammed should get the job.
    • Mona Sahlin in an interview with the Swedish newspaper Göteborgs-Posten, October 22, 2000.
  • But that has nothing to do with ethnicity. Who's by the way Swedish and who's an immigrant?
    • Mona Sahlin answers a question about increased crime and immigration in the Ungt val (eng. Young Election/Choice) section of the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, March 15, 2002.
  • In other words, we have to stop this beaver woman before she's gnawn apart every welfare system we've got in our country.
    • Mona Sahlin about the leader of Centerpartiet, Maud Olofsson, in the Swedish radio program Ekot, September 10, 2006.

Unsourced

  • The unemployment strikes hardest and most clearly those who don't have a job.
    • As minister of sustainable development (samhällsbyggnadsminister).

External links

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

Mona Ingeborg Sahlin (born Andersson on March 9, 1957 in Sollefteå, Sweden) is the new leader for the Swedish Social Democratic Party after Göran Persson's 10 years as leader. She was the minister responsible for the handling of the Heart 2 Art Exhibition in Stockholm 2002. Sahlin will lead the party into the new election in 2010 where she can become the first female Prime minister in Sweden if the party wins the election. Toblerone Scandal or Sahlin Scandal is the name of a Swedish scandal, in which there in October 1995 came to public attention that the Socialist politician Mona Sahlin during her time as Minister for Employment, 1990-1991, on several occasions used its credit cards for private expenses.

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