Quick guide to the Swedish election

The 9th of September, the Swedish election will take place. Voters will elect members of the Riksdag (parliament), which in turn will elect Sweden’s statsminister (prime minister). There will also be elections for kommun (council) and landsting (county council). Here is a quick guide to the electoral system in Sweden, the parties that can be voted for, and some handy links to tests you can do to see which party is most representative for you.

The Swedish electoral system

Sweden hold elections every fourth year, always on the second Sunday in September. Riksdagen is made up of 349 seats in total. All seats are elected through proportional representation (unlike the system in countries like United Kingdom and United States for example). Each of the 29 constituencies has a set number of parliamentarians that is divided through constituency results to ensure regional representation. The other MPs are then elected through a proportional balancing, to ensure that the numbers of elected MPs for the various parties accurately represent the votes of the electorate. Sweden has parliamentarism in a constitutional monarchy, which means that you vote for a government, not a statsminister. In this sense, statsministern is indirectly elected. A minimum of 4% of the national vote is required for a party to enter the Riksdag.

Who can vote?

To vote for Riksdagen, you need to be at least 18 years of age and be a Swedish citizen (and be or have been registered at a Swedish address).

To vote for kommun and landsting, you need to be at least 18 years of age and either be an EU-citizen (or citizen of Iceland or Norway) and be registered at a Swedish address, or been registered at a Swedish address for at least 3 years.

Which are the major political parties?

There are currently 8 major parties who have seats in Riksdagen. They span from left to right on the political spectrum. There are many online tests you can do in Swedish to test which party suits you best. Some of them are SVT:s valkompass, TTs valkompass, Aftonbladets valkompass, and Expressens valkompass. Sveriges radio also has a test in several different languages, including English.

Socialdemokraterna (Social democrats)

The largest political party in the Swedish Riksdag, with 113 of the 349 seats. It is the major component of the current government (Löfven Cabinet), in which it governs together with the Green Party. Its current leader, Stefan Löfven, has been Prime Minister of Sweden since 3 October 2014.

 

A brief guide in English and other languages about their politics can be found here.

Website: https://www.socialdemokraterna.se/

 

 

 

 

moderaterna (the moderate party)

The second-largest party in the Riksdag with 84 seats. The party is involved alongside three other parties in the Alliance; all four will seek to return to power together. Ulf Kristersson is the party leader currently, since 1 October 2017.

 

A brief guide in English and other languages about their politics can be found here.

Website: https://moderaterna.se/

 

 

 

 

sverigedemokraterna (the sweden democrats)

The third-largest party in the Riksdag with 49 seats. In the 2014 general election the party increased its number of seats by 29, becoming the third-largest party. Its leader is Jimmie Åkesson, who is the longest-serving party leader. The other Riksdag parties have repeatedly stated that they will not cooperate with the Sweden Democrats in a future government. An extra general election was called after the Sweden Democrats gave its support to the oppositional Alliance budget. After the proposed extra election was cancelled, the party advertised itself as the ‘only opposition party’ and in the following months it saw a sharp rise in support.

 

No guides in English or other languages about their politics were found on their website

Website: https://sd.se/

 

 

 

 

miljöpartiet (the green party)

The fourth-largest party in the Riksdag with 25 seats, and a minor component of the current government together with Socialdemokraterna. It is the only Swedish party to have two spokespersons (the green party call them språkrör), currently Gustav Fridolin (since 2011) who serves as Minister for Education, and Isabella Lövin (since 2016) who serves as Minister for International Development Cooperation.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A brief guide in English and other languages about their politics can be found here.

Website: https://www.mp.se/

centerpartiet (the centre party)

The fifth-largest party in the Riksdag with 22 seats. It was a part of the government from 2006 to 2014, and is involved in the Alliance. The Centre Party has been led by Annie Lööf since 2011. It was subject to public attempts by Löfven to become a cooperation party, but the party traditionally leans towards the Moderate policy positions and stayed within the Alliance after the 2014 election.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A brief guide in English and other languages about their politics can be found here (click on Other languages).

Website: https://www.centerpartiet.se/

vänsterpartiet (the left party)

The sixth-largest party in the Riksdag with 21 seats. Its current leader is Jonas Sjöstedt. He has said that the party seeks to participate in a future Red-Green coalition government.

 

No brief guide in English or other languages about their politics were found, but they have an easy-to-read Swedish summary here.

Website: https://www.vansterpartiet.se/

 

 

 

liberalerna (the liberals)

The seventh-largest party in the Riksdag with 19 seats. It was a part of the government from 2006 to 2014, and is involved in the Alliance. The Liberals has been led by Jan Björklund since 2007.

 

A brief guide in English and other languages about their politics can be found here.

Website: https://www.liberalerna.se/

 

 

 

kristdemokraterna (the christian democrats)

The smallest party in the Riksdag with 16 seats. They have been led by Ebba Busch Thor since 2015, and are involved in the Alliance. According to opinion polls there is a significant risk that the Christian Democrats will fail to achieve representation in the next Riksdag.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A brief guide in English and other languages about their politics can be found here.

Website: https://kristdemokraterna.se/

minor parties

There are also minor parties who may hold seats in kommun, landsting, or the European Parliament, but have not reached a 4% threshold to win a seat in Riksdagen. Examples of these are Feministiskt Initiativ (Feminist Initiative) and Piratpartiet (the Pirate Party).

What happens next?

Voting will take place all over the country until (and in particular on) Sunday the 9th of September. While waiting for results, many media channels will host Valvaka – an event with discussions and debates, while the counting of the votes happen. It usually stretches into the early hours of the Monday, before any definite results can be confirmed.

 

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