The year so far has witnessed numerous scandals involving partying and drug abuse on the part of the Sweden Democrats (SD), a political party with only a year-long history in the Swedish parliament – Riksdagen – after finally having made it past the 4% block during the 2010 elections. This Monday it was revealed that 23-year-old William Petzäll, the most notorious of the party’s drug fiends, had been involuntarily committed to a care facility last week under the Care of Alcoholics, Drug Abusers and Abusers of Volatile Solvents Act – the LVM law in Swedish.
Though his party had been aware of his drug problems ever since he started work for them a couple of years ago, this had not become a public matter until on 6 February of this year, when Petzäll was detained by the police after having smashed his girlfriend’s apartment in Trelleborg during a drunken rage and had to spend the night in jail. The police finds he’s intoxicated from both alcohol and prescription drugs. Following this, Petzäll takes a timeout from politics and spends the next month and a half in drug rehab, returning on 25 March.
During the summer, he’s relapsed once again, and he finds himself ostracized from the Sweden Democrats, even though their recent history includes plenty of partying and drunkenness. To provide a quick recap:
The Sweden Democrats – Drunkards and hedonists?
In early April, Aftonbladet reports on how neighbors have complained about the conduct of the SD MP’s. They’re said to be using the parliament apartments for partying late into the night, playing loud music at 1 or 2 AM. One female MP anonymously states that she’s had to encounter drunken men spilling beer in the stairwell while coming home at night. Kent Ekeroth, second generation Jewish immigrant and international secretary for the SD party, has been host to many of these parties.
Party leader Jimmie Åkesson has lately become infamous for partying and drunkenness as well. Late last month, images from an event that lasted until 3 AM at a Riksdag apartment began circulating on the net.
Host this time as well was Ekeroth, and once again, other MP’s complained about the festivities. Interviewed by nyheter24.se, Ekeroth denies there having been any party taking place. To quote his comments on the complaints against him:
– They described how they were afraid to enter. That’s complete bullshit. They might have been dreaming or been drinking too much themselves this time around.
Press secretary Eric Myrin also joined in on the stonewalling, but later had to back down when he himself had been caught on camera.
Drinking buddies won’t stand by you
Even though Petzäll probably shares quite a lot of party memories with his party colleagues, they were very quick to ditch him as it became publicly known that he couldn’t handle drugs. After having been excluded from party work for a couple of months following his last relapse, even though he’s a member of 15 political committees in the Riksdag, in September he announces to media that he’s resigning from the party, though retaining his seat in the parliament. He tells newspaper Expressen that he’s been to the ER several times, almost killing himself mixing liquor and pills. Party leader Jimmie Åkesson had a short time before this attempted to make Petzäll agree to sign a statement about resigning from his Riksdag seat as well, yet Petzäll refused. The Sweden Democrats wouldn’t learn of his decision to become a politisk vilde, an independent, until Expressen printed the story on 26 September.
The next couple of days, Petzäll is interviewed plenty of times by TV as well as newspapers, and he declares that he will confine himself to only dealing with substance abuse issues. Now he also starts unloading on his former party colleagues. To quote him being interviewed by Nyheter24:
“If I had wanted to I could have written a book and released lots of documents. I’ve been a member of the party for five years and have spent time with many in the inner circles so of course I know a lot. But I won’t do that unless the party forces me to.”
Furthermore, he complains to the newspaper about having been called nasty names online by members of the party.
He’s in drug rehab again, this time against his will
And now this Monday, we learned that he had been involuntarily committed this previous Monday. The Varberg social services had made the decision to have him committed (in Sweden, you can be committed even for alcoholism if the social services feels you’re in danger of ruining your own life) less than three weeks after having been released from his previous stint. Surprisingly enough – even though he’s now without a party and is considered mentally incompetent when it comes to his own personal affairs, he still retains his seat in the parliament. Swedish MP’s can only be removed from their posts if they’ve been found guilty of a crime – neither involuntary commitment for substance abuse or for mental illness suffices as a reason. This also goes for the right to vote – you can’t lose it no matter what, even if you’re strapped to a bed in a psych ward. On a less serious note, you might ask yourself whether this might be the reason why the Social Democrats have stayed in power for so very long.
So now we add a new name to the moral cesspool that is Swedish political life – William Petzäll. Other names worth mentioning are Equality Minister and assistant Education Minister Nyamko Sabuni, walking around in a cat suit during a gay pride parade; Fredrick Federley of the Center Party, who also goes by the name of Ursula, and female Swedish EU Minister Birgitta Ohlsson, here seen with a fake moustache being interviewed by a gay magazine.