Björn Söder (SD), talman i riksdagen. Foto: Henrik Montgomery/TT.
Björn Söder (SD), talman i riksdagen. Foto: Henrik Montgomery/TT.

Speaker tells MPs off for protesting against Söder

In parliament, several MPs have showed their disapproval of the second deputy speaker of the house, the Sweden Democrat Björn Söder, after he said Jews and Sami people do not belong to the Swedish nation. But the speaker of the house, the Social Democrat Urban Ahlin tells them off for doing so.

It is customary in the Swedish parliament for the MPs to start any statement in the chamber with the words "Mr Speaker" or "Madam Speaker". The other day, when the Left Party's Rossana Dinamarca didn't do that, she was reminded by Björn Söder, in his role as acting speaker of the house, that this was what she was expected to say. But, in a move that has been played and replayed in the media and online since, she hissed "you are not my speaker".

On Wednesday, the Green Party's Jan Lindholm started his statement in parliament with the words "riihkabeaivvi sardnideaddji", which is "Mr Speaker" in North Sami language. He was followed by the Left Party MP Karin Rågsjö, who started with the words "Shalom, Mr Speaker". And then two other Green MPs used other languages, one of them being Romani. 

All because an interview Björn Söder gave in his role as party chair for the Sweden Democrats, where he spoke about what it means to be Swedish and part of the Swedish nation. He claimed that, while there is no problem for Jews and Sami people to be Swedish citizens, they cannot be seen as part of the Swedish nation. He also questioned the claim by a well-known comedian, who has said that he is 100 per cent Swedish and 100 per cent Kurd. Söder means this is just not possible.

His words have caused anger and several MPs have said he is unsuitable to act as the speaker of the Swedish parliament.

But the parliament's first speaker, Urban Ahlin of the Social Democrats, now reprimands the MPs for their acts of protest. The news agency TT reports him saying "In the Swedish Parliament we use only one language and that is Swedish".

"When the deputy speakers step into my place, they have a different assignment to when they are normal MPs and promote their party's policies. And I think it is important that some kind of attitude remains towards the office of the speaker," he said.

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