Swedish PM met with troubled young people

Dec. 25, 2007 at 1:15 AM
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STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Dec. 25 (UPI) -- Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has divulged he spent part of his first year in office meeting secretly with troubled young people to learn from them.

Reinfeldt, 42, said in an interview with the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet that his office actively sought out people experiencing difficult times and offered them 90-minute face-to-face sessions with him, The Local reported Tuesday.

Reinfeldt called the meetings with young people who felt let down by the country's judicial and psychiatric healthcare systems "innovative research."

"I am always curious about the lives of people in Sweden. And I do whatever I can to form impressions from all parts of Sweden," Reinfeldt told Svenska Dagbladet.

Among those he met with were a young woman whose father had been murdered, an immigrant beaten by Stockholm metro security guards and a girl committed to a psychiatric facility. Not all those contacted chose to accept the offer to meet him.

The prime minister kept the sessions quiet to protect the people from media scrutiny and said they served as a reminder to him about the nature of his office.

"I walk side by side with the people who have vested their trust in me," he said.

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