Social Democrat groupings launch leadership candidates
The race to become the leader of the Social Democrats took a new turn today as various groupings within the party put forward their preferred candidates.
The Social Democrats' women's group put forward five female candidates, the student wing of the party want former environment minister Lena Sommerstad and the Brotherhood movement of Christian Social Democrats, say they don't want to even give a name, saying it is more important that the winning candidate should be well educated and be able to work internationally.
The youth wing of the Social Democrats, the SSU, are a heavyweight organisation. Many former leaders have started their political careers in the SSU. But this time round the youth wing says they don't want to put forward a joint candidate, instead leaving it up to their individual members to push for their own favourites. The decision is seen as criticism of the selection process,the SSU would rather have an open vote with declared candidates, rather than nomination committees deciding on names behind closed doors. Jytte Guteland is the outgoing head of the youth wing, she told Swedish Radio:
"We decided that we wanted to be open, and I think it's important that we should be able to put forward different candidates. I am also choosing to be open and I want Mikael Damberg to be the new leader. He has clearly shown he wants change and that the closed party structure isn't suitable anymore".
But Swedish Radio's Pontus Mattsson says he thinks the decision is more likely to be because the SSU couldn't unite on a single candidate, the organisation has long been split between different factions. The most important players are now the party districts, he told Radio Sweden, the bigger the district, the more clout in the nominating committee. It now has a couple of weeks to select a name, and Pontus Mattsson says it is highly unlikely that their suggested candidate will face any opposition in the extra party conference in March. Whoever that now ends up being. With a few weeks to go, there is still no clear favourite in the running to become new leader of one of Sweden's largest political forces.