Social Democrat Veronica Palm, with outgoing leader Mona Sahlin in the background. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/SCANPIX

Palm and Österberg most popular Social Democrat candidates

Veronica Palm and Sven-Erik Österberg are the two names that would be most likely to take the Social Democrats back into power, according to over a thousand party officials in a poll by the Expressen newspaper. 32.7 percent said that Veronica Palm would be most likely to win an election, with Sven-Erik Österberg, currently group leader in parliament, a close second on 32.5 percent. Former minister Pär Nuder was third on 18.5 percent, and former youth wing leader Mikael Damberg came fourth on 16.5 percent.

Nuder, formerly a minister in the Göran Persson government and known as Persson's "heavy man", but who has since withdrawn from politics, and Österberg are the current favourites to take over after Mona Sahlin. Unlike many other parties though, the Social Democrats don't hold a traditional party-wide election to pick their leader, instead one candidate is selected by a nominating committee, following discussions within the party. The chosen candidate is then voted on at a party conference.

Nuder has several times said he is unwilling to re-enter the world of politics, and Österberg himself hasn't officially thrown his hat in the ring, but according to experts this is quite normal among Social Democrats, many previous party leaders have said "no" before being "persuaded" to take the job. Seeming too keen to lead the party is seen in a negative light, some say.

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