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Mona Sahlin Set to be Social Democratic Party Leader

Published torsdag 18 januari 2007 kl 10.05
Mona Sahlin

The party’s election committee says she is the only person to be formally asked to take over the job.

At a press conference on Thursday afternoon she said she had thought long and hard about it over the past few weeks, and decided to accept the invitation.

The Social Democratic Party has been having a hard time finding a replacement for current party leader Göran Persson, who announced he was resigning in March on the evening of Sweden’s general election.

The then prime Minister announced his plans to resign when it became clear that the center-right Alliance for Sweden had won the election.

Mona Sahlin is not believed to be the first choice, and her name only came up after several other prominent Social Democrats made it clear they were not interested in holding the position.

Sahlin’s political career began when she at the age of 16 joined the Swedish Social Democratic Youth League.

In 1982 Mona Sahlin was voted into Sweden’s parliament. In 1990 she was appointed Minister for Labour and from 1992 she was party secretary.

She left that position in 1994 when Göran Persson appointed her Equality Minister as well as Deputy Prime Minister.

Mona Sahlin was however forced to resign from government in 1995 after a scandal broke involving her spending government money for private purposes.

At a press conference, Sahlin said that she occasionally bought a bar of Toblerone, dubbing the scandal the ”Toblerone Affair.” The incident was referred to by The Economist as ”the most expensive bar of chocolate she ever ate”.

Mona Sahlin returned to politics in 1998, when Persson once again appointed her to a government position, first in the Ministry for Industry, Employment and Communication, followed by Minister for Democracy and Integration Issues and later as Minister for Sustainable Development.

Mona Sahlin, who turns 50 in March, is currently a Member of Parliament as well as vice chairman of the Social Affairs committee.

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