Gustav Kasselstrand, ordförande SDU
Gustav Kasselstrand, ordförande SDU. Foto: pressfoto SDU

SDU:s Kasselstrand survives leadership challenge

The youth-wing of the Sweden Democrat party have re-elected its leader Gustav Kasselstrand, by 31 votes to 25.

His leadership had been challenged by Henrik Vinge, who is the press secretary of the party leader Jimmie Åkesson. The tabloid Aftonbladet recently published a two-year-old secret recording of a conversation between two top-level Sweden Democrats who were discussing how the party could remove Kasselstrand from his position in the youth organisation.

Ahead of Saturday's vote, political scientist Niclas Bolin told Swedish Radio P3 News that though no-one in the mother-party says so openly, "there is a lot that indicates that these alternative candidates have emerged as a way for the party leadership to get people who are more friendly (towards them) also in the youth wing".

During Kasselstrand's reign of the Sweden Democrat youth wing (SDU), they have sought co-operation with other parties in Europe, which the mother party has distanced themselves from, among others France's Front National.

After the vote on Saturday, Kasselstrand himself told the news agency TT that ha was relieved that it was over. He had been offered a job in parliament if he stepped down, but he told TT: "because it would have been impossible to combine these two seats, I would have had to choose. I chose SDU".

Asked whether he thinks the party leadership has tried to remove him, Kasselstrand told TT: "I am taking for granted that the youth wing can take care of its own business, and that the mother party is not involved in different leadership contests."

He also said that the media is exaggerating the differences between SDU and the mother party. SDU has grown over the past few years. They are now 5,000 members all around the country.

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