By Anastacia Sampson
From 1718 to 1772 (known as the Age of Liberty), the powers of the monarchy began to wane and the President of the Privy Council had leading political power. Before 1876, there was no such position as prime minister, whose role was to be leader of the government in Sweden. In those bygone years it was only the head of state, the King who had executive authority.
Sweden is under the laws of the European Union as it is part of that union, since 1995. This ensures that Sweden has a part in the decisions of the European Union. The European Council of Ministers (includes representatives of various countries belonging to the European Union) is the main decision body of the European Union.
Executive power in Sweden is enacted by the government, which is headed by the prime minister.
The main office holders in Sweden:
•Head of the state is the monarch head, currently it is King Carl XVI Gustaf and next in line is his daughter, who will be appointed Queen of Sweden.
•Head of the Government is the Prime Minister
•A substitute for when the prime minister is absent, is the Deputy Prime Minister
•Government at its highest executive level consists of the Prime Minister and about 22 Ministers.
Since 1917, generally the Swedish Social Democrats have had a leading role in politics. It has only been during four elections that the centre right bloc has had enough votes to form a government.
The following is a brief of some political parties in Sweden:
•Swedish Social Democrats was formed in 1889, and is recognised as the oldest and largest political party in the country. In 1917, left socialists left the party to form the Swedish Social Democratic Left Party which became the Left Party. The Swedish Social Democrats adhere to a social democratic stance. They are pro equality, feminism and consequently recognised as being anti-discrimination and anti-racism. It was during the time that the country was led and administered by this party that Sweden declared neutrality at the time of the World Wars. This gave Sweden an edge over many other European countries after the World Wars, as Sweden was not financially struggling from war costs. The social welfare system that this party advocates and strives to improve is of a high standard. From 1932 to 2006 the Swedish Social Democrats ruled as head of the government. In the Riksdag from 1973 to 2010, they won their most seats in 1982 with 166 out of 349 seats, and their lowest seats in 2010 with 112 out 349 seats.
•Moderate Party was formed in 1904 and is classified as centre right and liberal conservative. This party constitutes the main component of the Alliance coalition. They support same sex marriage and membership of the European Union. They are pro tax cuts and deregulations, and they are focused on enhancing the educational system. In the Riksdag from 1970 to 2010, they won their most seats in 2010 with 107 out of 349 seats, and their lowest seats in 1970 with 41 out of 350 seats.
•Left Party was formed in 1917 and it is classified as a socialist and feminist political party. This party supports immigration into Sweden and is anti being a member of the Euro. They tended to have always won a fairly low amount of seats and the highest amount was achieved in 1998, with 43 out of 349 seats.
• Green Party was formed in 1981 and came about from a movement of anti-nuclear lobbyists. After the 2010 elections, the results showed this party to be the third biggest by vote count. Consequently it was also in 2010 that this party had won its most seats in the Riksdag, with 25 out of 349 seats, since its inception. This party has key interest in animals, nature and the ecological system. It was not supportive of Sweden being incorporated into the European Union. They were the first political party to bring up the topic of climate change and they advocate higher taxes on environmentally unfriendly or unsustainable products and activities. This motivation behind their policy is to make people more conscious and to deter them away from things that damage the environment.
• Liberal People’s Party was formed in 1934 and is classified as being conservative liberal. It is a minor party in the Alliance coalition. At one time it was the third largest party represented in the Riksdag. In colloquial terms it is often referred to as the ‘People’s Party’. They have a history of being aligned to the United States of America and the United Kingdom and being anti the Soviet Union and Nazism. It is known that this party supported the end of Apartheid in South Africa. It is pro the European Union and being part of the larger Europe. From 1936 to 2010, this party won its most seats in the Riksdag in 1952 with 58 out of 250 seats. It won its lowest seats in the Riksdag in 1998 with 17 out of 349 seats.
• Centre Party was formed in 1913 and is classified as liberal and central with a specific interest on environmental, agricultural and rural matters. They are a minor party belonging to the Alliance. This party is anti-nuclear power. Immigration is something that the Centre Party strongly advocates for. They won the most seats in the Riksday in 1973 with 90 out of 350 seats and gained their lowest seats in 1914 with no seats out of 230 seats.
• Sweden Democrats was formed in 1988 and they support the return of refugees to their home countries. They are anti-immigration integration in their country. The policy on the elderly is pro more support and less tax on the elderly. The special rights of the Sami indigenous people is another area that the Swedish Democrats disfavour. There is large favouritism to traditional family structures, such as the father and mother with children. The notion of a family with homosexual parents or guardians is also disfavoured. There have been bans on this party’s advertising and media outreach at times. They won seats in the Riksdag for the first time in 2010, with 20 out of 349 seats.
• Christian Democrats was formed in 1964 and is presently a minor part of the Alliance
• The Alliance is a coalition between the Moderate Party, the Liberal People’s Party, Centre Party and Christian Democrats. These are the four centre right parties.
• The Red-Greens was a coalition between the Social Democrats, the Green Party and the Left Party. These are the parties that oppose the Alliance. The coalition lasted for less than two years, when it was broken up in 2010.
For more information, please view: http://www.sweden.se