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Old 12th September 2018, 03:54 PM   #1
Arcade22
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Swedish General Election 2018, and a basic description of the Swedish State

The last votes (early votes and those cast abroad) are being counted right now and the more or less final results will come in right now or tomorrow.

A relatively short and basic explanation of the Swedish general election: it's held every 4 years and is composed of three separate elections for three different types of elective assemblies:
  • The National Parliament, or Riksdag, which is unicameral with 349 seats in total
  • The County Councils, or Landsting, of which there are 20
  • The Municipal Councils, or Kommunfullmäktige, of which there are 290

People are free to vote for differently for each type of assembly or only vote one or two of them. People can only vote for a party and its electoral list so there are no independent candidates (although one can give a "personal vote" specifically for someone on that list, which affects the order that the candidates are afforded a seat). The voting system is proportional so the percentage of votes that any one party receives is roughly proportional to the percentage of seats they win, although a party needs to get at least 4% of votes to be elected to the Riksdag at all.

Sweden is organized as unitary state where "All public power in Sweden proceeds from the people and the Riksdag is the foremost representative of the people". Consequently the Counties and Municipalities have no independent legal powers and authority except those delegated to them by the Riksdag which can also abolish, merge or otherwise reorganize them as it sees fit.

The Riksdag essentially decides what the Municipalities and Counties absolutely need to do and what they are allowed to do without necessarily dictating precisely how they are to do it, so to speak. Thus they are fairly autonomous and the Central Government nor the Riksdag is expected to not interfere in Municipal and County political decisions except in the most exceptional of cases.

The Municipalities are not subservient or otherwise answer to the Counties and they are politically and practically independent of each-other. Likewise they have more or less separate yet complementary responsibilities. The counties main responsibility is public health care and public transportation. By contrast the Municipalities have more varied responsibilities such as public schools, social services, elderly care, urban planning and most public utilities. They can operate or otherwise support various public leisure and sporting activities and facilities like public swimming pools, football fields and hockey arenas.

The Municipalities and Counties are mainly funded by income taxes from their resident, where they can set their own rates within a certain limit. There is however a scheme that helps fund some of the poorer of them by effectively redistributing taxes from the wealthy ones so that the difference in public services available in the different municipalities shouldn't be extreme. So that basically describes why it matters to vote in those two elections: do you want less taxes and less public services or more taxes and have access to more public services?

The Riksdag is on the other hand arguably more important because it deals with issues that applies to the entire realm. This includes all aspects of laws and law enforcement, the military, foreign policy and trade. It also elects The Government, or "Regeringen". In comparison to many other countries The Swedish Government is relatively weak and is largely relegated to acting as an overseer of public institutions like the Police or the Military, as opposed to leading them. Normally most of the Governments power comes from also having support of a majority in parliament. If, as has been the case since the last previous election, the Government only has support of a minority of parliament it ends up being far weaker.

The important political parties today are, from their customary position along the left-wing to right-wing scale and with their official abbreviation: The Leftist Party (V), The Social Democrats (S), The Environmental Party (MP), The Centre Party (C), The Liberals (L), The Moderates (M), The Christian Democrats (KD) and finally the Sweden Democrats (SD).

Here's the English version of the a website that visualizes who won where and how various demographic statistics correlate with the electoral results.

https://www.svt.se/special/the-swedish-vote/

Just to reiterate: the Swedish voting system is proportional so it doesn't matter how many constituencies or electoral districts you manage to win it's the amount of votes in total that you win that's important.
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Old 12th September 2018, 03:59 PM   #2
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So, what is your prediction?

I would guess areas like Gothenburg and Malmo, and urban centres will have a high Swedish Democrat vote.

It'll be interesting if any of the other parties would want to form a coalition government, should it get enough votes.
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Old 13th September 2018, 04:30 AM   #3
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Unfortunately i have no insider information about how the government formation is going to look like. The percentage of votes and the preliminary amount of parliamentary seats are as of right now (In Swedish): https://valresultat.svt.se/2018/

The two main blocs, meaning the left-wing "Red-Green" parties and the right-wing "Alliance", have as i expected both gotten roughly the same amount of votes at 40.7% for the left and 40.2% for the Alliance. This translates into 144 seats for former and 143 seats for the latter. The Sweden Democrats got about 17.5% of the votes which translates into 62 seats.

The percentage of votes and the seats won might change by a tiny amount, but in practical terms both blocs are even.

The Sweden Democrats didn't actually do extremely well in Malmö where only got 17% of the votes. They did much better throughout the rest of Skåne though, where they got 23% of the total vote and became the second largest party after the Social Democrats. In Gothenburg they only got 13% of the vote and did somewhat better in the rest of the county, getting 17% of the total vote. They didn't manage to become the largest party in any county at all. They are not really a party that gets its support from cities as such, rather their voters tend to dominate in rural areas and post-industrial towns where things aren't going very well. They do however get far more support the further south in the country you get.

The northern parts of the country where i live (Norrland) tends to be dominated by the Socialdemocrats and the Left Party, likely due to the importance of mining and such industries up here. The Social Democrats got the most votes in all counties except Stockholm where the center-right Moderates are the largest party especially in Stockholm City, which is basically the bastion of the bourgeoisie and upper classes.

If i were a guessing man, which i am, I'd wager that the Social Democrats and The Green Party come to some agreement with the Alliance and either one of them are allowed to govern as a minority government. The right-wing parties don't want anything to do with either the Left party (far-left ex-communists) or the Sweden Democrats. That was what happened the last election: the Social Democrats and the Greens were in a minority government with the consent of the center-right Alliance because that was the only realistic option. Calling another election in an attempt to get a clear majority for either of the blocs is an absolute last resort and seems highly unlikely. The Social Democratic leader said that they would not act as a "support party" for the Alliance but i guess they could come to some arrangement.

The important thing to note here is that Parliament only elects a Prime Minister to lead the Government (i.e. the cabinet). They in turn get to appoint and dismiss the other ministers at their leisure and have large amount of freedom in how they organize the ministries. As i said previously the Government is on its own fairly weak compared to many other countries so this freedom isn't a big deal. One exception of this is the Ministry for Foreign Affairs which could arguably be called the most powerful ministry.

One great thing about the election is that electoral turnout was quite high at over 87% of eligible voters.
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Last edited by Arcade22; 13th September 2018 at 04:40 AM.
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Old 14th September 2018, 09:57 AM   #4
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The Daily Mail recently informed me that Sweden has turned into a racist hellhole, where criminal immigrants run the cities and whities are turning to Nazism to combat them. Is this not accurate?
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Old 14th September 2018, 10:37 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Arcade22 View Post
The important thing to note here is that Parliament only elects a Prime Minister to lead the Government (i.e. the cabinet). They in turn get to appoint and dismiss the other ministers at their leisure and have large amount of freedom in how they organize the ministries.
Does that mean that the prime minister is the effective head of state?

Originally Posted by Arcade22 View Post
As i said previously the Government is on its own fairly weak compared to many other countries so this freedom isn't a big deal.

That doesn't seem to coalesce with what you stated in your OP:
Originally Posted by Arcade22 View Post
Sweden is organized as unitary state where "All public power in Sweden proceeds from the people and the Riksdag is the foremost representative of the people". Consequently the Counties and Municipalities have no independent legal powers and authority except those delegated to them by the Riksdag which can also abolish, merge or otherwise reorganize them as it sees fit.
That sounds like a seriously powerful government to me. Of course, a divided parliament has difficulty getting anything done but that is almost universal.
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Old 16th September 2018, 05:26 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by philkensebben View Post
The Daily Mail recently informed me that Sweden has turned into a racist hellhole, where criminal immigrants run the cities and whities are turning to Nazism to combat them. Is this not accurate?
No not really. The Neo-Nazis from the "Nordic Resistance Movement" campaigned heavily in a couple of areas, including by handing out fliers and canvassing at the same spot with the normal parties for about 4 whole weeks before the election. They also got a lot of free publicity thanks to holding public marches with the typical (sometimes disorderly) protests.

Even with all that effort they got just 2106 parliamentary votes, or 0,03% of the total. I read a good response to them in a newspaper: "they claim to be the people, but the people have shown they don't give a **** about them".

Likewise two new far-right parties, the "Alternative for Sweden" and "Citizen's Gathering", only managed to get about 0.5% of the votes and way below the 4% threshold. There's no demand among voters for any political party that's more extreme and further to the right than the Sweden Democrats are.

It's interesting to note that both of these two politically insignificant parties, who basically only managed to steal and waste votes from the Sweden Democrats, were heavily over-represented on Facebook. Being successful in the Facebook echo chamber does not necessarily translate into being successful in elections. Bots and trolls can't vote in real elections nor do likes qualify as valid votes.

Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
Does that mean that the prime minister is the effective head of state?
Yes.

I forgot to mention that Sweden does have a monarch but unlike just about all other constitutional monarchies the monarch has no political powers whatsoever according to the current constitution that was enacted in 1974. They don't even have nominal and symbolic powers.

Quote:
That doesn't seem to coalesce with what you stated in your OP:

That sounds like a seriously powerful government to me. Of course, a divided parliament has difficulty getting anything done but that is almost universal.
In practice it's not very powerful mainly because Sweden's political class has a long history of legislating through consensus and enforcing said legislation through professional non-political civil servants.

Even if a party has a majority in parliament they don't simply steamroll over any significant opposition in order to enact substantive and significant legislation. It's more important to seek an understanding and come to a compromise that all, or at the very least most, parties can live with. By doing that they can heavily increase the likelihood that, if they were to lose the subsequent election, their laws aren't summarily repelled.
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Freedom you all want, you want freedom. Why then do you haggle over a more or less? Freedom can only be the whole of freedom; a piece of freedom is not freedom. You despair of the possibility of obtaining the whole of freedom, freedom from everything - yes, you consider it insanity even to wish this? - Well, then leave off chasing after the phantom, and spend your pains on something better than the - unattainable. - Max Stirner

Last edited by Arcade22; 16th September 2018 at 05:30 AM.
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Old 16th September 2018, 08:26 AM   #7
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It will be interesting to see how Fox News and Trump Tweets comment on the outcome of the Swedish election. I don't think that they've talked much about Sweden since Feb 2017: 'Sweden, who would believe this?': Trump cites non-existent terror attack (The Guardian, Feb. 19, 2018)
After Trish Regan's embarrassing report about Denmark, they may be a bit more cautious than we would otherwise expect them to be ...
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"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 16th September 2018, 09:09 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Arcade22 View Post
I forgot to mention that Sweden does have a monarch but unlike just about all other constitutional monarchies the monarch has no political powers whatsoever according to the current constitution that was enacted in 1974. They don't even have nominal and symbolic powers.
So they don't even symbolically sign bills into law? Why have a monarch then?
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Old 16th September 2018, 09:38 AM   #9
philkensebben
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Originally Posted by Arcade22 View Post
No not really. The Neo-Nazis from the "Nordic Resistance Movement" campaigned heavily in a couple of areas, including by handing out fliers and canvassing at the same spot with the normal parties for about 4 whole weeks before the election. They also got a lot of free publicity thanks to holding public marches with the typical (sometimes disorderly) protests.

Even with all that effort they got just 2106 parliamentary votes, or 0,03% of the total. I read a good response to them in a newspaper: "they claim to be the people, but the people have shown they don't give a **** about them".

Likewise two new far-right parties, the "Alternative for Sweden" and "Citizen's Gathering", only managed to get about 0.5% of the votes and way below the 4% threshold. There's no demand among voters for any political party that's more extreme and further to the right than the Sweden Democrats are.

It's interesting to note that both of these two politically insignificant parties, who basically only managed to steal and waste votes from the Sweden Democrats, were heavily over-represented on Facebook. Being successful in the Facebook echo chamber does not necessarily translate into being successful in elections. Bots and trolls can't vote in real elections nor do likes qualify as valid votes.
Thanks for your response. This is pretty much as I expected. My query was asked with tongue firmly planted in cheek. The Daily Mail thinks all of Western Europe has turned into an unlivable dystopia.
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Old 16th September 2018, 10:13 AM   #10
dann
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
So they don't even symbolically sign bills into law? Why have a monarch then?
The entertainment value of royal scandals in Scandinavia is invaluable!
https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/sweden...ndal-1.1088241
https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news...mark-1-9016954
In Norway they can even talk with the dead!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince...ay#Controversy
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"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx

Last edited by dann; 16th September 2018 at 10:15 AM.
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Old 16th September 2018, 03:53 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
So they don't even symbolically sign bills into law?
Nope. The government does that now, which is a pure formality.



Quote:
Why have a monarch then?
Simply because there has been no widespread support for abolishing monarchy.

No relatively recent monarch has ever been so unpopular that making a clean break with one of the central pillars of national identity is preferable to enduring them. Nor has monarchy as an institution or the central government in general been seen as so oppressive by any portion of the Swedish population that any politicians would gain anything from re-branding Sweden as a republic.
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Freedom you all want, you want freedom. Why then do you haggle over a more or less? Freedom can only be the whole of freedom; a piece of freedom is not freedom. You despair of the possibility of obtaining the whole of freedom, freedom from everything - yes, you consider it insanity even to wish this? - Well, then leave off chasing after the phantom, and spend your pains on something better than the - unattainable. - Max Stirner
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Old 17th September 2018, 01:10 AM   #12
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I should note that voting is done using simple color coded paper forms that are stuffed into special envelopes. There's one color for each election, so basically the election staff can only know which elections you voted for but not which parties. They have to open the envelopes to see that. Thus ballot secrecy is preserved. There's no need for fancy computers.

You have to show up with an valid ID of some kind so they can verify your identity, as well as a piece of paper that was mailed to you a month or so before the election. Either that or someone else with an ID has to vouch for your identity. Of course since the election turnout was over 87% that requirement cannot be said to prevented many voters from turning out. Convicted criminals, even those currently incarcerated, aren't barred for voting either.

My parents voted beforehand because they went on vacation, even though they came back in time to vote if they wanted to. You can change your mind and show up at the election even if you voted beforehand.
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Freedom you all want, you want freedom. Why then do you haggle over a more or less? Freedom can only be the whole of freedom; a piece of freedom is not freedom. You despair of the possibility of obtaining the whole of freedom, freedom from everything - yes, you consider it insanity even to wish this? - Well, then leave off chasing after the phantom, and spend your pains on something better than the - unattainable. - Max Stirner

Last edited by Arcade22; 17th September 2018 at 01:16 AM.
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Old 18th September 2018, 02:10 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Arcade22 View Post
I should note that voting is done using simple color coded paper forms that are stuffed into special envelopes. There's one color for each election, so basically the election staff can only know which elections you voted for but not which parties. They have to open the envelopes to see that. Thus ballot secrecy is preserved. There's no need for fancy computers.

You have to show up with an valid ID of some kind so they can verify your identity, as well as a piece of paper that was mailed to you a month or so before the election. Either that or someone else with an ID has to vouch for your identity. Of course since the election turnout was over 87% that requirement cannot be said to prevented many voters from turning out. Convicted criminals, even those currently incarcerated, aren't barred for voting either.

My parents voted beforehand because they went on vacation, even though they came back in time to vote if they wanted to. You can change your mind and show up at the election even if you voted beforehand.
About the ID, several types of ID are permitted, including passport, national ID and drivers licence. Getting an ID isn't difficult in Sweden.
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