Björn Söder

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Björn Söder
Björn Söder.jpg
Second deputy speaker of the Riksdag
Assumed office
29 September 2014
Monarch Carl XVI Gustaf
Preceded by Ulf Holm
Leader of the Sweden Democrats
in the Swedish Riksdag
In office
4 October 2010 – 29 September 2014
Leader Jimmie Åkesson
Succeeded by Mattias Karlsson
Secretary of the Sweden Democrats
In office
7 May 2005 – 14 February 2015
Preceded by David Lång
Succeeded by Richard Jomshof (elect)
Member of the Riksdag
for Stockholm County
Assumed office
4 October 2010
Personal details
Born (1976-01-03) 3 January 1976 (age 41)
Väsby, Höganäs Municipality, Skåne County, Sweden
Political party Sweden Democrats
Alma mater Lund Institute of Technology
Profession Engineer

Björn Olof Söder[1] (born 3 January 1976) is a Swedish politician of the Sweden Democrats and has been the second deputy speaker of the Riksdag since 29 September 2014.

He was the Party Secretary of the Sweden Democrats from 2005 to 2015, group leader of the Sweden Democrats in the Riksdag from 2010 to 2014 and has been a Member of the Riksdag since 2010.[2]

Background and education[edit]

Söder was born in Väsby, Höganäs Municipality, Skåne County, Sweden, where he also grew up.[1] After he had completed upper secondary education (gymnasium) in 1995 he began engineering studies at the Lund Institute of Technology.[1] Between 1997 and 1998 he made his compulsory military service at the K 3 regiment in Karlsborg.[1] After finishing his military service he started to study again but took a break between 2000 and 2002 to work as an information technology consultant.[1] He finished his studies in 2004 when he earned a Master of Engineering degree in chemical engineering from the Lund Institute of Technology.[1]

Political career[edit]

Söder first joined the Swedish Progress Party in 1991 but left the party in 1994 after internal struggles and instead joined the Sweden Democrats.[1] He was elected as a substitute member of the party board in 1997 but left the board to serve as secretary of the Sweden Democrat Youth between 1998 and 2000.[1] Between 1998 and 2002 he was a member of the municipal council in Höör Municipality for the Sweden Democrats.[1] In 2001 he was again elected as a member of the party board and later the same year of the party executive committee.[1] In the same year he was also elected as a member of the church assembly of the Diocese of Lund and as a substitute member of the church assembly of the Church of Sweden.[1]

At the Sweden Democrats' national meeting in 2003 Söder was elected as deputy party chairman.[1] He left this post at the national meeting in 2005 when he was elected as party secretary.[1] In 2005 he was once again elected as a member of the church assembly of the Diocese of Lund and as a full member of the church assembly of the Church of Sweden.[1] Between 2006 and 2010 Söder was a member and party group leader of the Sweden Democrats in the Scania Regional Council as well as a member of the municipal council in Helsingborg Municipality.[1]

In the 2010 general election the Sweden Democrats for the first time entered the Riksdag with 5.70% of the votes and Söder, placed second on the party's national ballot, was elected as a Member of Parliament along with 19 other Sweden Democratic politicians.[2] On 24 September 2010 he was elected as group leader of the Sweden Democrats in the Riksdag.[3]

After Sweden's victory in the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest, he expressed disappointment and shame that the song was performed in English and not Swedish. After a massive backlash, he deleted the comment from his social media pages, and said that he now realizes that the Eurovision song contest "apparently is a holy cow that must not be criticized in any way, just like multiculturalism."[4]

The Jerusalem Post reported in 2014 that Björn Söder declared in an interview that most people of Jewish origin, who have become Swedes, leave their Jewish identity and that it is important to distinguish between citizenship and nationhood. Lena Posner Körösi, of the Official Council of Jewish Communities in Sweden told The Guardian that Söder’s statements were “exactly like in 1930s Germany” and that they constitute “good old right-wing anti-Semitism". The statement of the Sweden Democrat politician about Jews was listed as one of the ten worst anti-Semitic incidents in the world in 2014 by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, according to Dagens Nyheter.[5][6][7]

Söder responded to these claims of anti-Semitism[neutrality is disputed] with a column of his own that appeared in The Jerusalem Post on January 5, 2015, writing in part, "In a biased article in one of Sweden’s largest newspapers, Dagens Nyheter (DN: Daily News), some of my statements were dramatically taken out of context to erroneously credit me with opinions that do not correspond with reality. Politically biased journalists and political opponents have further distorted the statements, resulting in a presentation virtually the complete opposite of my actual statements and opinions. This is now distributed in the international press, such as in the Post, which therefore necessitates a clarification on my part." [8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Om Björn Söder" (in Swedish). Björn Söder. Archived from the original on 2006-09-02. Retrieved 22 September 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Invalda valet 2010" (in Swedish). Parliament of Sweden. Archived from the original on 27 September 2010. Retrieved 22 September 2010. 
  3. ^ Larsson, Mats J. (24 September 2010). "Söder SD-gruppledare i riksdagen". Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish). Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  4. ^ Björn Söder (SD) är besviken att Loreen vann, Aftonbladet, 27 May 2012
  5. ^ Swedish politician calls for Jews to abandon their faith, The Jerusalem Post, 18 December 2014
  6. ^ Björn Söder på internationell antisemitlista, Aftonbladet, 27 May 2012
  7. ^ Deputy speaker to Jews: abandon your religious identity
  8. ^ Sweden Democrats reject anti-Semitism, The Jerusalem Post, January 5, 2015
Party political offices
Preceded by
David Lång
Secretary of the Sweden Democrats
2005–2015
Succeeded by
Richard Jomshof
New title Leader of the Sweden Democrats in the Swedish Riksdag
2010–2014
Succeeded by
Mattias Karlsson
Political offices
Preceded by
Ulf Holm
Second deputy speaker of the Riksdag
2014–
Incumbent