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Kingdom of Sweden

This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
Sweden



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Elections in the Kingdom of Sweden are held every four years, and determine the makeup of the legislative bodies on the three levels of administrative division in the country. At the highest level, these elections determine the allocation of seats in the Riksdag, the national legislative body of Sweden. Elections to the 20 county councils (landsting) and 290 municipal assemblies (kommunfullmäktige) are held concurrently with the legislative elections on the third Sunday of September, and use roughly the same electoral system.

Sweden also holds elections to the European Parliament, which unlike Swedish domestic elections are held in June every five years, though they are also held on a Sunday and use an almost identical electoral system.

The next Swedish general elections will be held on 19 September 2010. The last Swedish election to the European Parliament was held on 7 June 2009.

Contents

Electoral system

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Voter eligibility

To vote in a Swedish parliamentary election, one must be:[1]

  • a Swedish citizen
  • at least 18 years of age
  • a resident of Sweden, or alternatively have been a resident of Sweden in the past (thus excluding foreign-born Swedes who have never lived in Sweden)


To vote in Swedish local elections (for the county councils and municipal assemblies), one must:[1]

  • be a resident of the county or municipality in question
  • be at least 18 years of age
  • fall into one of the following groups:
  1. Swedish citizens
  2. Citizens of Iceland, Norway, or any country in the European Union
  3. Citizens of any other country who have permanent residency in Sweden and have lived in Sweden for three consecutive years


To vote in elections to the European Parliament, one must be 18 years old, and fall into one of the following groups:[1]

  1. Swedish citizens who are or have been residents of Sweden
  2. Citizens of any other country in the European Union who are currently residents of Sweden (and are then ineligible to vote in European Parliament elections in any other EU member state if they chose to vote in European Parliament elections in Sweden)

In general, any person who is eligible to vote is also eligible to stand for election.

Voting

Unlike in many countries where voters chose from a list of candidates or parties, each party in Sweden has separate ballot papers. The ballot papers must be identical in size and material, and have different colors depending on the type of election: yellow for Riksdag elections, blue for county council elections and white for municipal elections and elections to the European Parliament.

Swedish voters can choose between three different types of ballot papers. The party ballot paper has simply the name of a political party printed on the front and is blank on the back. This ballot is used when a voter wishes to vote for a particular party, but does not wish to give preference to a particular candidate. The name ballot paper has a party name followed by a list of candidates (which can continue on the other side). A voter using this ballot can choose (but is not required) to cast a personal vote by entering a mark next to a particular candidate, in addition to voting for their political party. Alternatively, a voter can take a blank ballot paper and write a party name on it. [2]

Cost of ballot papers

For national parliamentary elections, the government pays for the printing and distribution of ballot papers for any party which has received at least one percent of the vote nationally in either of the previous two elections. For local elections, any party that is currently represented in the legislative body in question is entitled to free printing of ballot papers.[3]

Seat allocation

Seats in the various legislative bodies are allocated amongst the Swedish political parties proportionally using a modified form of the Sainte-Laguë method. This modification creates a systematic preference in the mathematics behind seat distribution, favoring larger parties over smaller parties which might otherwise win only a single seat. At the core of it, the system remains intensely proportional, and thus a party which wins approximately 25% of the vote should win approximately 25% of the seats. An example of the close correlation between seats and votes can be seen below in the results of the 2002 Stockholm municipal election.

Party Percent of seats[4] Percent of votes[5]
Social Democratic Party 34.7% 32.1%
Moderate Party 26.7% 26.0%
Liberal People's Party 16.8% 15.8%
Left Party 10.9% 11.2%
Green Party 5.9% 5.3%
Christian Democratic Party 5.0% 4.4%

The candidates chosen from each party are determined by two factors: the candidate's ranking by their party and the number of preference votes from the voters. Though the parties still entirely control the names on their own party lists, the system gives the voters a degree of power in choosing candidates from the list. For instance, in national parliamentary elections, any candidates who receive a number of personal votes equal to eight percent or greater of the party's total amount of votes will automatically be bumped to the top of the list, regardless of their ranking on the list by the party. This threshold is only five percent for local elections and elections to the European Parliament.[6]

Terms of office

The assembly members are elected for a fixed term, which presently is four years long. In 1970 to 1994, the term length was three years; before that, normally four years. The parliament may be dissolved earlier by a decree of the prime minister, in which case new elections are held; however, the new members of parliament will only hold office until the next ordinary election, the date of which is not changed. Thus the terms of office of the new M.P's will be the remaining parts of the terms of the M.P's in the dissolved parliament.

The unicameral Riksdag has never been dissolved dy decree. The last time the Andra kammaren of the old Riksdag was dissolved in this manner was in 1958.

The regional and local assemblies cannot be dissolved before the end of their term.

Riksdag elections

The unicameral Parliament of Sweden has 349 members. 310 of these members are elected using a party-list proportional representation system within Sweden's 29 electoral constituencies. These constituencies are usually coterminous with one of the Swedish counties, though the Counties of Stockholm, Skåne (containing Malmö), and Västra Götaland (containing Gothenburg) are divided into smaller electoral constituencies due to their larger populations.

The remaining 39 seats in the Riksdag are "adjustment seats," distributed amongst the parties in numbers that will ensure that the number of seats in Parliament matches the distribution of the votes in the previous election as closely as possible.

In order to restrict the amount of parties which win seats in the Riksdag, a threshold has been put in place. In order to win seats in the Riksdag, a party must win at least four percent of the vote nationally, or twelve percent of the vote in any electoral constituency.[7]

Latest result

The 2006 Swedish parliamentary election resulted in a victory for the centre-right "Alliance for Sweden." The results were notable for being the Social Democrats' worst since the institution of universal suffrage in 1921, and the best results for the conservative Moderate Party since 1928.[8]

Riksdag election results in percent 1911-2006[8]

The first election to an unicameral Riksdag was held in 1970. The older figures refer to elections of the second chamber (Andra kammaren) under the older bicameral system.

Table Key
  • (v) - Left Party, formerly Communist Party
  • (s) - Social Democrat Party
  • (mp) - Green Party
  • (fp) - Liberal Party
  • (c) - Centre Party, formerly Peasants League
  • (m) - Moderate Party, formerly Right-wing Party
  • (kd) - Christian Democrat Party
  • (NyD) - New Democracy
  • (sp) - Socialist Party
  • (ssv) - Social Democratic Left Party of Sweden
Year (v) (s) (mp) (fp) (c) (m) (kd) Various Others Participation
2006 5.9 35.0 5.2 7.5 7.9 26.2 6.6 5.7 81.99%
2002 8.4 39.9 4.6 13.4 6.2 15.3 9.1 3.1 80.11%
1998 12.0 36.4 4.5 4.7 5.1 22.9 11.8 (NyD) 2.6 81.4%
1994 6.2 45.3 5.0 7.2 7.7 22.4 4.1 1.2 1.0 86.4%
1991 4.5 37.6 3.4 9.1 8.5 21.9 7.1 6.7 1.2 86.7%
1988 5.8 43.2 5.5 12.2 11.3 18.3 2.9 0.7 85.96%
1985 5.4 44.7 1.6 14.2 10.1 21.3 2.3 0.5 89.93%
1982 5.6 45.6 1.7 5.9 15.5 23.6 1.9 0.2 91.44%
1979 5.6 43.2 10.6 18.1 20.3 1.4 0.8 90.72%
1976 4.8 42.7 11.1 24.1 15.6 1.4 0.4 91.76%
1973 5.3 43.6 9.4 25.1 14.3 1.8 0.6 90.84%
1970 4.8 45.3 16.2 19.9 11.5 1.8 0.4 88.3%
1968 3.0 50.1 14.3 15.7 12.9 1.5 2.6 89.3%
1964 5.2 47.3 17.0 13.2 13.7 1.8 1.8 83.3%
1960 4.5 47.8 17.5 13.6 16.5 0.1 85.9%
1958 3.4 46.2 18.2 12.7 19.5 0.0 77.4%
1956 5.0 44.6 23.8 9.4 17.1 0.1 79.8%
1952 4.3 46.1 24.4 10.7 14.4 0.1 79.1%
1948 6.3 46.1 22.8 12.4 12.3 (sp) 0.1 82.7%
1944 10.3 46.7 12.9 13.6 15.9 0.2 0.4 71.9%
1940 3.5 53.8 12.0 12.0 18.0 0.7 0.0 70.3%
1936 3.3 45.9 12.9 14.3 17.6 4.4 1.6 74.5%
1932 3.0 41.7 11.7 14.1 23.5 5.3 0.7 68.6%
1928 6.4 37.0 15.9 11.2 29.4 0.1 67.4%
1924 5.1 41.1 16.9 10.8 26.1 (ssv) 0.0
1921 4.6 36.2 19.1 11.1 25.8 3.2 0.0
1920 6.4 29.7 21.8 14.2 27.9 0.0
1917 8.1 31.1 27.6 8.5 24.7 0.0
1914 36.4 26.9 0.2 36.5 0.0
1914 30.1 32.2 0.0 37.7 0.0
1911 28.5 40.2 31.2 0.1

Riksdag election results by year

County Council elections

Elections to Sweden's county councils occur simultaneously with the parliamentary elections on the third Sunday of September, and they use roughly the same electoral system. County elections use individual municipalities—or alternatively groups of municipalities—as electoral constituencies. The number of seats on the county council allocated to each constituency, and the borders of these constituencies, is entirely at the discretion of each county council itself. As mandated by Swedish law, nine out of ten seats on each county council are permanent seats from a particular constituency. The remaining seats are at-large adjustment seats, used to ensure county-wide proportionality with the vote, just as with parliamentary elections.[9]

Unlike in Riksdag elections where the minimum threshold for entry is four percent, county elections use a lower threshold of three percent. Furthermore, the voter eligibility requirements for local elections are different, as discussed above.[10]

County Council elections results

Municipal elections

Elections to the municipal assemblies also occur on the third Sunday of September, and also use the same system for distributing seats, with a few differences:

  • Voter eligibility requirements differ from those of parliamentary elections. (Discussed above)
  • There is no minimum threshold for winning seats.[11]
  • All seats on municipal assemblies are permanent. There are no adjustment seats. This can cause the distribution of seats in the municipal assemblies to differ somewhat from the actual distribution of votes in the election.[11]

Municipal elections results

Stockholm Municipality

Stockholm municipal elections v · d · e
1938 · 1942 · 1946 · 1950 · 1954 · 1958 · 1962 · 1966 · 1970 · 1973 · 1976 · 1979 · 1982 · 1985 · 1988 · 1991 · 1994 · 1998 · 2002 · 2006 · 2010

Other municipalities

Elections to the European Parliament

Elections to the European Parliament occur every five years in June throughout the entire European Union. The exact day of the election varies by country according to local tradition, thus in Sweden all European parliament elections occur on a Sunday. The next European parliamentary elections in Sweden will be held on 7 June 2009.

For European parliamentary elections, all of Sweden consists of one electoral district. The European Parliament has 732 permanent seats, 19 of which were allocated to Sweden for the 2004 election. Sweden will be allocated 18 seats in 2009.

European parliamentary election results

Elections for the European Parliament held in Sweden.

Church elections results

Trivia

The words meaning election and whale are homonyms in Swedish (the Swedish word being val). Because of this, the Museum of Natural History in Göteborg allows visitors to enter the blue whale every election day ("whale day")[12].

References

  1. ^ a b c Swedish Election Authority, "Suffrage and electoral rolls" [1]
  2. ^ Swedish Election Authority, "Election in Sweden: The Way It's Done" [2] p.7
  3. ^ Swedish Election Authority "Elections In Sweden: The way it's done" [3] p.8
  4. ^ Statistics Sweden "Kommunfullmäktigval - erhållna mandat efter kommun och parti. Valår 1973-2006" [4]
  5. ^ Statistics Sweden "Kommunfullmäktigval - valresultat efter kommun och parti mm. Valår 1973-2006" [5]
  6. ^ Swedish Election Authority "Elections in Sweden: The Way It's Done" [6] p.16
  7. ^ Swedish Election Authority "Elections in Sweden: The Way It's Done" [7] p.13
  8. ^ a b Statistics Sweden "Historisk statistik över valåren 1910 - 2006. Procentuell fördelning av giltiga valsedlar efter parti och typ av val" [8]
  9. ^ Swedish Election Authority "Elections in Sweden: The way it's done" [9] p.7
  10. ^ Swedish Election Authority "Elections in Sweden: The way it's done" [10] p.13
  11. ^ a b Swedish Election Authority "Elections in Sweden: The way it's done" [11] p.13

See also

External links


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