The Democrats are the largest in Gothenburg after barely 15 months



On the way to the interview room in Gothenburg City Hall, Martin Wannholt meets a group with the Social Democratic President of the City Council Ann-Sofie Hermansson. Wannholt remains one of the rest in the company and wonders whether social democrats drink coffee at the expense of the municipality and the taxpayers? He states that a party of millions of people who are party must be able to pay.

The leaders of the Democrats go on a fixed road through the corridors. There are busy days for the former Ericsson engineer and former city council for moderates who are now at the forefront of a step that wants to halve the number of political posts in Gothenburg,

No wonder he did is not gigantic popcorn in the town hall.

"There are tense smiles," he says.

The mobile phone is ringing and an employee announces that the ballots of the party did not appear in Frölunda's library when the early vote began.

"Because we are not in the city council, we have to drive with the ballots ourselves," he explains, giving the employee a number to call.

The following choice teaches this no problem. The party, which was formed at the end of May last year, is a rocket that rises at record speed in the political air of Gothenburg. In three polls conducted by Sifo for Gothenburg Post, the Democrats have reached more than 15 percent. In the past, 18.9, more than social democrats and moderators, were received. It is no longer a high price if you become the largest party in the municipal elections on 9 September.

Martin Wannholt says that as an old sailor he wins no victory until the goal shot has sounded, but he realizes that his resistance to a train tunnel is about to have major consequences. It is a resistance by which he was excluded from the moderators for violations of the statutes, which made him a political savage and became him and formed the Democrats.

He speaks quickly and convinced of everything that went wrong in Gothenburg. About segregation, about failed municipal environmental efforts and the major shortcomings in political governance.

"Göteborg is a great city, but I am not elected as a politician to say that Gothenburg is a beautiful city, I will try to solve the problems that arose when the city had slipped so far and segregation and inequality have spread, "he says.

His answer begins not infrequently, he calls the reporter on first name and they end with a wink.

But anyway, Wannholt gets more involved than the Westlink. Last spring, the first step was taken in the work of the local and regional traffic tunnel that had to be dug in Gothenburg and dominated the political debate for almost a decade. This is despite the fact that the Göteborg said no to the project in a 2014 referendum, which according to the price level of 2009 is estimated to cost 20 billion. Wannholt already owned as a moderate party (the party wants the Westlink) to show that the tunnel will be considerably more expensive, it risks creating environmental problems and, above all, that it is a bad and unprofitable solution to the challenges of the growing city.

The municipal elections this year also seem to be a kind of referendum, with the difference that the results now seem tangible. Even the Swedish Democrats and local elections are against the West Link. Wannholt's message to the parties that are too clear is clear and can cause chaos:

– We cancel the agreement and return. It is the price tag to start negotiations about everything else. If you are not interested, you do not have to waste our time. I have no mandate to go back, but there are many others who should have supported much earlier and perhaps voters talk about them in the night, "he says.

But the big question is if it is really possible to cancel the agreement that has been signed with the state of Göteborg. The West Link is part of the larger Western package for infrastructure projects and is co-financed by the state. In such projects, the national interest is paramount and the state can invite the municipality to implement the building.

"I find it hard to see that the state is entering and running a municipality, and if we get more than 20 percent, chances are the project will stop soon," says Wannholt.

In addition to the political process, the Supreme Court has not yet dealt with the most recent appeal against the Environmental Court's decision.

The clear answer as to whether it will be possible to stop the Westlink will be suspended in the air.

Democrats want more than one party. The 51-year old Wannholt started the move after long talks with the integration police Ulf Boström, who is part of the board. The message of earlier this year that both the social democrat Jahja Zekiraj and environmentalist Henrik Munck who jumped to the Democrats, has been precipitated as a bomb, as a result of attracting voters from many parties – the most moderate, but the Democrats, who are not want to be left or right and has more than 2000 members, also from S and SD.

The party has been criticized to have a scarce program and compared with Ian and Bert, a kind of New Democracy 2.0, which lacked politics in a number of areas. It is a comparison that greatly disturbs Wannholt. At the same time, he admits that it is difficult for such a young party to have answers to all the difficult questions.

"But we can do everything on the basis of our budget, so that nothing falls in. We have concentrated on what we consider most important for Gothenburg: management and management and redistribution to welfare, he says.

In addition to the promise to halve all political positions in the municipality, the Democrats want to reduce the number of municipalities considerably, which nowadays is much more in Gothenburg than in any other Swedish city. A resting point when the strong man of the city, Göran Johansson (S), ruled and the transparency of the municipal activities was limited. It means that Wannholt is a cause of the many municipal scandals and, in the long run, that the crusade of the Social Democrats in Gothenburg is particularly clear.

Blow it now new wind. According to the Democrats, people from all over the country come to hear how they have managed to create so much in such a short time. Wannholt does not exclude that the party may appear in other cities, perhaps at national level. However, he does not like the comparison with Emmanuel Macron.

"My only goal is to create a better city for the Gothenburg", he says.

Three questions

… to Folke Johansson, professor of political science at the University of Gothenburg.

How have the Democrats so quickly become so big in Gothenburg?

"This is related to the political development in the city and the pursuit of various projects where the population was negative with the congestion tax and the Westlink as an example, as well as municipal scandals of different nature." Moreover, it is no disadvantage for the Democrats that they have politicians experienced in the management, which also comes from different parties.

Will they be able to repeat the opinion figures in the elections?

– No, not the highest figures. There are always people who get along with each other. Some former Social Democrats go back to the Sisters despite dissatisfaction from the past.

Can the Democrats stop the Westlink?

"It is unrealistic that they reach a majority together to stop it, even with today's opinion numbers.On the other hand, cooperation between Democrats and the Alliance can lead to some form of compromise that removes the Hagadelen from the project.


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