Say what we want or don’t say anything at all.
That was the message that the brass of the Socialistisk Folkeparti (SF) delivered to Özelm Cekic yesterday when the party stripped her of her spokesperson roles.
Cekic has been in hot water with her own party for refusing to support the tax reform deal that SF, along with governing coalition parties Socialdemokraterne (S) and Radikale (R), cut with opposition parties Venstre (V) and Konservative (K).
Cekic argues that the tax reform punishes the unemployed and those on public benefits while providing tax breaks for the wealthy. When she spoke out against the tax reform, SF temporarily stripped her of her spokesperson duties. At yesterday’s party meeting, those suspensions were suspended indefinitely.
SF’s political leader Pernille Vigsø Bagge defended the party’s actions to Politiken newspaper.
“The tax reform in large part is about social issues, which Özlem had been the spokesperson for until summer holiday, so it’s clear that she can’t continue in that position when she fundamentally disagrees with the policies that will be implemented in that area, Bagge said.
Bagge dismissed the idea that Cekic represented a part of SF that has been unsatisfied with the party’s decisions, but several party members that spoke with Politiken indicated that Cekic’s views indeed have internal support.
“Özlem is the only SFer that has maintained that she doesn’t wish to vote for a tax reform that will increase inequality,” Lene Linnemann, a member of SF’s Aalborg regional concil, told Politiken. “It’s awfully strange to punish an SFer that stands by the party’s original politics. I think it’s dumb.”
Other local and regional SF members echoed the sentiment to Politiken.
For her part, Cekic called the punishment “hard” but struck a defiant tone.
“The punishment is nothing compared to the those people affected by [the reform] – people on public benefits and the jobless that are going to have to pay for tax cuts,” she told Politiken. “I am an SFer. I was before I went in to the group meeting, I am now, and I will be tomorrow. I’m going to continue to work for SF policies and there is nobody that can take that from me.”