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Election Debate on the Radio

Published onsdag 1 februari 2006 kl 11.39

With elections here eight months away, the leaders of Sweden’s two political blocks took part in a radio debate Wednesday afternoon.

Social Democrat Prime Minister Göran Persson squared off against Fredrik Reinfeldt, leader of the Conservative Moderates, the largest party in the center-right opposition.

When asked what he would have done if the satirical cartoons about the prophet Mohammed had been published in Sweden, Prime Minister Persson said he would have met the ambassadors from the countries involved and talked to them about the importance of freedom of the press and democracy, and would have explained that there was no intention to ridicule another religion.

Fredrik Reinfeldt said he would not apologize for freedom of expression and the press in Sweden.

The prime minister criticised the opposition for wanting to lower welfare benefits, while the Conservative leader criticised the government for not doing more about unemployment.

The opposition continues to stay ahead of the government and its parliamentary allies in the polls, but the lead has been slipping.

But why start the election campaign more than seven months ahead of election day? A question Azariah Kiros put to Henrik Brors, political editor at Dagens Nyheter, Sweden’s biggest morning national paper:

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