Parliament of Sweden


Parliament of Sweden

Infobox Parliament
name = "Sveriges riksdag" The Swedish Parliament
coa_pic =
coa-pic =
session_room = Riksdag assembly hall 2006.jpg
house_type = Unicameral
leader1_type = Speaker of the Riksdag
leader1 = Per Westerberg
party1 = Moderate
election1 = September 17, 2006
members = 349
p_groups = Social Democratic Party (130)
Moderate Party (97)
Centre Party (29)
Liberal People's Party (28)
Christian Democrats (24)
Left Party (22)
Green Party (19)
election3 = September 17, 2006
meeting_place = Riksdag building, Stockholm
website = [http://www.riksdagen.se/ www.riksdagen.se]
Politics_of_Sweden

The Riksdag (officially _sv. Sveriges riksdag, literally: The National Diet of Sweden) is the national legislative assembly of Sweden. The riksdag is a unicameral assembly with 349 members ( _sv. riksdagsledamöter), who are elected on a proportional basis to serve fixed terms of four years. The Riksdag building stands on the island of Helgeandsholmen in Stockholm.

Name

"Riksdag" is the direct Swedish equivalent of the German "Reichstag". In the Swedish constitution, the word is written with a lower-case r, thus marking that it is actually not a name of the parliament, it is just "the parliament".

A precise English translation of this German-Nordic word does not actually exist, but "Meeting of the Realm" may serve as a literal translation, though perhaps "Diet of the Realm" would be more accurate ("dag" literally means "day", and is thus cognate to the use of German "tag" for a Diet, which comes from Latin "dies" with the same meaning). The word is also used by Swedish speakers for the parliaments of Finland (it is the official term used by the Swedish-speaking minority there) and Estonia, and for the old Reichstag of Germany as well as the parliament building in Berlin (reciprocally, "Reichstag" is the standard German translation of "riksdag"). In Sweden "riksdag" is today also frequently used to refer to the contemporary parliament of Germany per se, and sometimes for national parliaments of other countries as well. The word is also used by Norwegian speakers with the same spelling; in Danish it is spelled "rigsdag".

Organization

*Speaker of the Riksdag: Per Westerberg (since October 2006)
*Chamber: unicameral with 349 members
*Elections: Members are elected by popular vote on a proportional representation basis to serve four-year terms. In the election year, the elections are held on the third Sunday of September.
*Elections last held: September 17 2006

Constitution

The riksdag (the Swedish Parliament) performs the normal functions of a parliament in a parliamentary democracy. It enacts laws, amends the constitution and appoints a government. In most parliamentary democracies, the head of state commissions a politician to form a government. Under the new Instrument of Government (one of the four fundamental laws of the Constitution) enacted in 1974, that task was removed from the Monarch of Sweden and given to the Speaker of the Riksdag.To make changes to the Constitution under the new Instrument of Government, amendments must be approved twice by Parliament, in two successive electoral periods with a general election held in between.

Government

After holding talks with leaders of the various party groups in the Riksdag, the Speaker of the Riksdag nominates a Prime Minister. To form a government, the Prime Minister designate must then present a list of Cabinet Ministers and have it approved by Parliament.Parliament can cast a vote of no confidence against any single member of the government, thus forcing a resignation. If a vote of no confidence is cast against the Prime Minister (Sw. "Statsminister"), this means the entire government is rejected, and the procedure of finding a government starts afresh.

Politics

Political parties are strong in Sweden, with members of the Riksdag usually supporting their parties in parliamentary votes. In most cases, governments can command the support of the majority in the Riksdag, allowing the government to control the parliamentary agenda.

For many years, no single political party in Sweden has managed to gain more than 50% of the votes, so political parties with similar agendas cooperate on several issues, forming coalition governments. In general, two major blocks exist in parliament, the left and the right, or socialists and non-socialists (conservatives/liberals). Currently the liberal/right coalition consisting of the Centre Party, the Liberal People's Party, the Christian Democrats and the Moderate Party governs Sweden. In the previous three electoral periods the socialists formed the government but lost the election in 2006.

1/ Party name and leaders current as of March 18, 2007
2/ Seats as per the 2006 general election, current as of March 18, 2007
3/ Percentage of the votes received in the 2006 general election

Elections

All 349 members of the Riksdag are elected in the general elections held every four years. Eligible to vote and stand for elections are Swedish Citizens who turn 18 years old no later than on the day of the election. The next elections are due to be held in 2010. A minimum of 4% of the national vote is required for membership in Parliament, alternatively 12% or more within one of the election districts.

Most recent election

The Social Democrats suffered their worst electoral result since 1920, while the Moderates recorded their best performance in modern times. As a result the center-right alliance won the election and got control over the Riksdag for the first time since 1994. Main|Swedish general election, 2006

History

"Main articles: History of the Riksdag, Riksdag of the Estates"

The roots of the modern Riksdag can be found in a 1435 meeting of the Swedish nobility in the city of Arboga. This informal organization was modified in 1527 by the first modern Swedish king Gustav I Vasa to include representatives from all the four social estates: the nobility, the clergy, the bourgeoisie (propertied commoners in the towns such as merchants, tradesmen, lawyers, etc), and the peasantry (freehold yeoman farmers). This form of "Ständestaat" representation lasted until 1865, when representation by estate was abolished and the modern bicameral parliament established. Effectively, however, it did not become a parliament in the modern sense until parliamentary principles were established in the political system in Sweden, in 1917.

Prior to the Constitutional reforms that brought a new Instrument of Government in 1974, the Riksdag underwent an important change in 1970. In 1865 it had been constituted as a political assembly with two chambers but in 1970 it was transformed into a unicameral assembly with 350 seats. By chance, the following general election to the unicameral Riksdag in 1973 only gave the Government the support of 175 members, while the opposition could mobilize an equal force of 175 members. In a number of cases a tied vote ensued, and the final decision had to be determined by lot. To avoid any recurrence of this, the number of seats in Parliament was reduced to 349 from 1976.

See also

*Referendums in Sweden

External links

* [http://www.riksdagen.se/default____56.aspx The Riksdag] – official site


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