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Liberal Leader Apologizes to the Swedish People

Published fredag 8 september 2006 kl 14.26

Swedish Liberal Party leader Lars Leijonborg has apologized to the nation for party members’ unauthorized intrusions into the ruling Social Democrat’s internal computer network.

In an interview on Swedish Television Thursday evening the Liberal leader said the guilty individuals and others covering up the crime have been fired or have resigned – and that the entire party can not be blamed.

But he does not rule out that others could have been involved.

A number of opinion-makers say Liejonborg’s apology and other comments are not enough – and reveal a failure to handle crises. Some supporters fear that the Liberal Party scandal could jeopardize the opposition center-right alliance’s hopes of winning the September 17 elections.

In another effort to show unity, the other members – the Center, the Conservate Moderates and the Christian Democrats - say they will change Sweden’s policies on natural resources if they get into power. They’re demanding an end to the state’s mandatory purchases of forest areas to create nature reserves – saying that it is better to work together with forest owners to see how voluntary efforts can work.

The latest polls indicate that there is still a close race between both blocks – with a slight lead for the Social Democrats and their Green and Left party allies.

In a rare mention of foreign policy in the otherwise heated debate over jobs, schools, health care and taxes, the government and the opposition parties have agreed to postpone any decision to boost Swedish military input in the UN forces in Lebanon.

The government so far pledged a light warship with a crew of 80 – maintaining that it is saving troops for a UN operation together with Norway in the civil-war ravaged Darfur province of Sudan.

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