Eurosceptical Social Democrats Launch Petition

Eurosceptics in Sweden’s ruling Social Democrat party launched a petition on Tuesday for a referendum on the EU constitution, risking a severe blow to the prime minister ahead of next year’s elections.

Prime Minister Göran Persson, whose centre-left government is already lagging in opinion polls, said last week it would be ”wrong to have a referendum on such marginal changes” to the European Union as those contained in its new constitution.

But a eurosceptic faction of the ruling Swedish party, led by Member of Parliament Sören Wibe, hopes to collect the almost 7,000 signatures needed to force a vote among party members on whether a referendum should be called.

Wibe told a news conference that ”this is historic since members themselves say they want an internal party vote.”