Swedish Social Democrats implode as Juholt resigns

I have long felt that Håkan Juholt was inappropriate as the leader of the Swedish Social Democrats. But what was most disturbing  – in this time of transparency – was the opaque manner of his being “appointed and anointed” as leader of the party some 10 months ago.

But it is the party’s Executive Committee (Verkställande utskott) who come out of this debacle  as being particularly incompetent. No doubt Juholt himself was lacking in the competence and leadership qualities necessary to unite the party behind him. But it was the Executive Committee which displayed gross incompetence;  first in choosing a leader who would be constantly sniped at from within the party; secondly, incompetent in the coup-like manner in which they pulled Juholt’s name out of a hat; thirdly incompetent in not being able to discern Juholt’s lack of the leadership qualities necessary for the position; and finally incompetent in not being able to shield their “appointed” leader from the snipers and the baying media.

It may be that the current Social Democrats have outlived their time. There is a perception that their roots which lie deep in the “working class struggle” of a century ago have become irrelevant to and obsolete in modern Sweden. They need to reinvent themselves to be relevant in today’s world and it could be that the current implosion is a necessary – but not sufficient – part of the renewal.

But in the rush to find a new leader it seems that transparency could again be sacrificed leading to the appointment of another ham-strung leader.

It seems likely that the Executive Committee will once again – behind closed doors in some smoky back-room – attempt to “appoint and anoint” a new leader. But with the stresses and strains in the Party remaining un-addressed, yet another “least objectionable” name is unlikely to throw up a leader of any substance. A leader who can describe and communicate a vision and a direction for the Social Democrats needs to emerge from the grass-roots and it seems unlikely to me that back-room “king-making” will find such a person.

As today’s Svenska Dagbladet puts it (free translation):

The Social Democratic Executive Committee has a new meeting this afternoon to debate the future of the Party after yesterday’s resignation of Hakan Juholt. But
to begin an open process to find a new party leader does not work according to Ardalan Shekarabi former Chairman of the Young Social Democrats.

“We must designate a party leader and I think it should happen quickly. The sequence to be followed is that the Executive Committee proposes a name and the Party confirms, that’s my personal opinion” he said. …..

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