Divisions surface inside the anti-immigrant party
The Sweden Democrat justice policy spokesman, Kent Ekeroth, will take a break from politics as the scandal uncovered by the newspaper Expressen deepens. And the scandal has started to reveal rifts inside the party.
The second video, published Thursday, shows Ekeroth and two party colleagues arming themselves with metal pipes after an argument in central Stockholm in 2010. In an interview with the TT news agency today, Ekeroth said he is ashamed of what happened.
New footage, shot by Ekeroth on his mobile phone, shows the spokesman and his party colleagues Erik Almqvist and Christian Westling arming themselves with metal pipes during an argument in central Stockholm two years ago.
The video also shows Kent Ekeroth pushing a young woman into the side of a car.
"Kent Ekeroth has, on his own initiative and in consultation with the party leadership, decided to take a timeout from his post as justice policy spokesman. The reason is the current situation which greatly limits Kent Ekeroth’s prospects of representing the party in a positive way,” the Sweden Democrats’ head of communications, Martin Kinnunen, wrote in a statement to the TT news agency.
Ekeroth’s engagements as justice policy spokesman this week have been cancelled. It is unclear what will happen after that.
Jimmie Åkesson, the leader of the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats, continues to have the support from the district heads of Sweden Democrats around the country.
But the youth wing of the Sweden Democrats, SDU, has criticized the party leadership and its leader. “It is no doubt a weaker Sweden Democrats without Erik Amlqvist,” says Gustav Kasselstrand, who chairs SDU.
"Worst crisis yet" for the Sweden Democrats
Political commentator Pontus Mattsson said the party is going through its worst crisis yet and will struggle to find replacements for Ekeroth and Almqvist.