Freivalds and Dahlgren Resign
Swedish Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds has resigned after accusations that she acted unconstitutionally over the closure of a far-right web site which published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.
According to custom, cabinet secretary for foreign affairs Hans Dahlgren has also resigned. Whether or not he is reappointed will fall to the new foreign minister.
Freivalds originally said that she was unaware the foreign ministry had contacted the web hosting company which then shut down the site belonging to the anti-immigrant Swedish Democrat party. But documents published this week showed she had indeed been informed. Political pressure on a company to close such a website would be against the Swedish constitution.
She told a news conference Tuesday morning that she believes the current situation is impossible for her. She said, ”It is damaging the government, the party and the ministry of foreign affairs and that is why I have chosen to resign.”
Prime Minister Göran Persson said, ”It was her own decision.”
Freivalds was also widely criticised in connection to the government’s bungled response to the Asian tsunami in which some 500 Swedes died.
The resignation comes just six months before the ruling Social Democrats face what analysts expect to be a tight general election. Laila Freivalds will be replaced by Vice Prime Minister Bosse Ringholm.