Chaos at the top of the Sweden Democrats
A damning video showing a top Sweden Democrat politician using derogatory and racist language has got the anti-immigrant party reeling. After a crisis meeting, the party held two press conferences today. Reporter: Sven-Hulteberg Carlsson.
"This is the worst and most shameful day of my life," said Sweden Democrat politician Erik Almqvist at a press conference today. In reference to a controversial video published by Expressen, Almqvist said: “I behaved in an unacceptable way and said things I cannot stand for today.”
In the video, Almqvist calls a 21-year-old woman a “whore”, kicks a drunk man, and uses racist terms in a verbal argument with the comedian Soran Ismail.
Asked by the newspaper last week, Almqvist denied ever using such terms, saying "that is absolutely not true".
But on Wednesday, Almqvist said he was frustrated an angry at the time of the incident. He had experienced physical and verbal assault and his home had been vandalized, he claimed.
Since then Almqvist has been in therapy and has received support from colleagues and friends to deal with his anger.
The party leader, Jimmie Åkesson, relieved Almqvist of his duties as financial spokesperson and of his position on the party board.
Almqvist said he will take time to think about what to do about his seat in parliament, though he ruled out becoming a lone MP with no party affiliation.
Almqvist claimed he has not seen the film published by Expressen. He did not want to comment on who may have edited an earlier, shorter version. However, he did acknowledge that only three people from within the Sweden Democrat Party could have been involved in handling the footage: himself, party spokesman Kent Ekeroth and "a third person".
He apologized to those involved in the incident, to his party colleagues and to the Sweden Democrats’ supporters.