Elisabeth Svantesson replaces Hillevi Engström is being succeeded as Labor Market Minister.Photo: Scanpix.

Reinfeldt announces surprise cabinet reshuffling

Swedish prime minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, announced two cabinet changes during today's opening of the Fall Session of the Swedish Parliament, or Riksdag.

Minister for Development Assistance, Gunilla Carlsson, is leaving Parliament and is being replaced by Hillevi Engström.

Engström is being succeeded as Labor Market Minister by Elisabeth Svantesson.

Svantesson's appointment has been described as controversial. She is new to Parliament and has been a member of Livets Ord, the largest parish within the Swedish Word of Faith movement. She has also worked for an organisation that opposes abortion.

According to Reinfeldt, Svantesson was previously a teacher within Livets Ord, news agency TT reported.

"This is something we have discussed. It will not have any bearing on her area of responsibility," said Reinfeldt.

Svantesson told TT that she will give those who are currently locked out of the labour market the necessary tools to enter it.

During a press conference on Tuesday, she did not want to comment on why she was a member of Livets Ord or why she left the movement.

Engström, who has been in parliament since 2010, told TT that she is "very happy to be asked to become the new Minister for Development Assistance."

She added that she is proud of Sweden's aid work.

"There should be transparency and openness and aid should benefit people. That is what I will continue to work on," Engström said, adding that she is particularly passionate about issues concerning women and children.

Gunilla Carlsson has been vocal in debates about Swedish aid and she brought about significant changes during her time at the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). She occasionally faced harsh internal criticism.

Commenting on the cabinet reshuffling, Reinfeldt, said: "New people can affect developments. Sometimes you have to make moves."

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