Geography of Sweden Location: Northern Europe, bordering theBaltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, Kattegat, andSkagerrak, between Finland and Norway Area Total: 450,295 sq km Country comparison to the world: 56 Land: 410,335 sq km Water: 39,960 sq km Area – comparative: Slightly larger thanCalifornia Land boundaries: Total: 2,233 km Border countries: Finland 614 km, Norway1,619 km Coastline: 3,218 km
Religion in Sweden Christianity in Sweden traces its roots back to Norsepaganism in the 11th century. Sweden has been mostly Lutheran since the 16th century;the Lutheran Church of Sweden (Swedish: Svenskakyrkan) was Sweden’s state church from the ProtestantReformation until 2000. As of 2012, 67.5% of Sweden’s population belongs to theChurch of Sweden, in comparison with more than 95% in1970, and 83% in 2000. In spite of this, religion in Sweden only plays a small rolein comparison to the European average. In a 2010 Eurobarometer Poll, only 18% of Swedishcitizens indicated that “they believe there is a god.” In a 2009 Gallup poll, only 17% said yes to the question“Is religion an important part of your daily life?”. Fewer than 4% of the Church of Sweden membershipattends public masses in an average week; almost only2% are regular attendees. Some researchers consider Sweden to be a countrywhere religion is viewed with “benign indifference”. The history of the Jews in Sweden dates back to the 17thcentury. Due to immigration in the late 20th century, there is asizable Muslim minority (4% of the population) andRoman Catholics (2%).
Religion Statistics Lutheran: 87% Other (includes Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Baptist, Muslim, Jewish, and Buddhist):13%
Malmö Mosque and Sankta-Maria-i-RosengårdCatholic Church
Sweden’s political system: IntroducingSweden’s political system The political system of Sweden functions in a structure of a parliamentary representativedemocratic constitutional monarchy. The government, led by the PM of Sweden, exercises executive power. Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament, elected within a multi-party structure. The Judiciary, named by the government and employed until retirement, is independent. Sweden has a distinctive Western European history of democracy, starting with the oldViking age Ting electing kings and ending with a normal royal power, that in eras becamerelatively democratic depending on the common European leanings, in the 14th century. The current democratic régime is a result of a steady growth of successively addeddemocratic institutions that date back to the 19th century up to 1921, when women’s suffragewas legalized. The Swedish government has adhered to parliamentarism – de jure since 1975, de factosince 1917. The Social Democratic Workers’ Party, which has had a plurality (and occasionally amajority) in parliament since 1917, has largely ruled Swedish national politics since theGreat Depression; from 1932-2006, the Social Democrats led the government for 65 years,almost entirely in the absence of a minor partner.
Sweden’s political system: Government ofSweden Capital (and largest city): Stockholm Official language(s): Swedish Demonym: Swedish Government: Unitary parliamentaryrepresentative democracy underconstitutional monarchy Monarch: King Carl XVI Gustaf Prime Minister: Fredrik Reinfeldt (M) Speaker of the Riksdag: PerWesterberg (M) Legislature: Riksdag
Sweden’s political system: Constitution Sweden’s constitution is divided into four basic laws. The most important law is the Instrument of Government of 1974, which laysout the vital standards of political life in Sweden, outlining rights and liberties. The Act of Succession is a treaty between the old Riksdag of the Estatesand the House of Bernadotte legalizing their rights to accede to the Swedishthrone. The four primary laws are: Instrument of Government (1974) Act of Succession (1809) Freedom of the Press Act (1766) Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression (1991)
Sweden’s political system: Executive branchMain office holdersRoles of the King and thePrime Minister Office: King Name: Carl XVI Gustaf Party: None Since: 15 September 1973 Office: Speaker of the Riksdag Name: Per Westerberg Party: Moderate Party Since: 2 October 2006 Office: Prime Minister Name: Fredrik Reinfeldt Party: Moderate Party Since: 5 October 2006 Head of State King Carl XVI Gustaf of the House ofBernadotte became king in 1973. His power is formal, symbolic, andrepresentative. Head of government After the 17 September 2006 generalelections, Moderate Party nomineeFredrik Reinfeldt was elected PM ofSweden by the new parliament on 5October; along with the three otherpolitical parties in the centre-right Alliancefor Sweden, Reinfeldt heads a coalitiongovernment. Jan Björklund of the Liberal People’sParty is the Deputy PM.
Sweden’s political system: Government The most supreme executive power of the State is vested in the Government, which ismade up of a PM and almost 22 Ministers who supervise the ministries; the Ministersare nominated at the PM’s sole discretion. The PM is nominated by the Speaker and subsequently appointed after a vote in theRiksdag itself, a procedure in which the Monarch plays no role. Only a motion of no confidence (misstroendevotum) in the Riksdag can oust agovernment; this motion needs a majority of the total amount of votes in the Riksdag(no less than175). The taking on of the budget in the Riksdag is another case in point of the power thelegislature has granted the Government. Unless a majority of the Riksdag members vote against it, the Government’ssuggestion to the budget is adopted.
Sweden’s political system: Political partieswith official representation Swedish Social Democratic Party(Sveriges Socialdemokratiskaarbetarparti, S) Moderate Party (Moderatasamlingspartiet, M) Green Party (Miljöpartiet de Gröna,MP) Liberal People’s Party (FolkpartietLiberalerna, FP) Centre Party (Centerpartiet, C) Sweden Democrats(Sverigedemokraterna, SD) Pirate Party (Piratpartiet, PP) Christian Democrats(Kristdemokraterna, KD) Left Party (Vänsterpartiet, V)
Sweden’s political system: Legislativebranch The unicameral Riksdag is grouped of 349members, commonly elected every four years; it isusually in session between September and mid-June. The Cabinet or members of the Riksdag may initiatelegislation. Members are elected on the basis of proportionalrepresentation for a term of four years. The Riksdag can modify the Constitution ofSweden, but only with approval by a supermajorityand verification following the subsequent generalelections. Since 1917, after Reformists verified their strengthand the revolutionaries left, the Swedish SocialDemocratic Party has taken a leading political role. The cabinets have been ruled by the SocialDemocrats since after 1932. The centre-right bloc has been given enough seats inthe Riksdag to create a government in only fourgeneral elections (1976, 1979, 1991, 2006). This is seen as one factor for Sweden’s status as apost-war welfare state, with a government spendingof slightly over 50% of the GDP.
Sweden’s political system: Judiciary Swedish law, based on Germanic, Roman, and Anglo-American law, isneither codified as it is in France and other countries influenced by theNapoleonic Code, nor as reliant on judicial practice and examples as itis in the United States. Courts: Civil and criminal jurisdiction. Supreme Court or Högsta domstolen Courts of appeal or Hovrätt District courts or Tingsrätter Administrative Courts: Proceedings between the Public and the Government. The Supreme Administrative Court or Regeringsrätten Administrative courts of appeal or Kammarrätter County administrative courts or Länsrätter Ombudsman: The Parliamentary Ombudsman or Justitieombudsmannen The Chancellor of Justice or Justitiekanslern
Carl XVI Gustaf Born 30 April 1946 at the Haga Palace. Reigning King of Sweden since 15September 1973, when he succeeded hisgrandfather King Gustaf VI Adolf. Is the only son of Prince GustafAdolf, Duke of Västerbotten, and PrincessSibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. In contrast to many other Europeanmonarchs who bear extensivemethods, King Carl Gustaf’s official andfull style is simply His Majesty Carl XVIGustaf, King of Sweden. His perceptible successor, upon thepassing of a new law establishingabsolute primogeniture (the first law of itskind passed in European history), isCrown Princess Victoria, the oldest childof the King and his wife, Queen Silva.
Fredrik Reinfeldt Born 4 August 1965 in Österhaninge. 32nd and current PM of Sweden; assumed office on 6 October2006, following the general election. Has served as chairman of the liberal conservative Moderate Partysince 2003; was President of the European Council in 2009. A native of Stockholm County; joined the Moderate Youth League in1983, and advanced to the rank of chairman by 1992, holding that postuntil 1995. Has served as an MP since 1991, representing his home constituency. Was elected party leader on 25 October 2003; succeeded Bo Lundgren. Under his leadership, the Moderate Party has reformed its politics andshifted itself towards the centre, calling itself “the New Moderates”(Swedish: Nya moderaterna). Governs over a coalition government with the support of a slightmajority in the parliament, along with the three other political parties inthe centre-right Alliance for Sweden. Was the third youngest individual, at the age of 41, to become PM ofSweden. His first term in office was marked by the late 2000s financial crisis andrecession; his popularity diminished in the midst of the financialcrisis, but when the Swedish economy emerged as one of the best inEurope, his support recovered, which resulted in his re-election in 2010. Following the 2010 general election, his government was lessened to aminority government, although it also became the first right of centregovernment since before WWII to win re-election;consequently, Reinfeldt became the first Moderate politician to win asecond term as PM. Is also the lengthiest-serving Moderate PM in Sweden’s history; hisgovernment is the lengthiest-serving consecutive non-social democraticgovernment since Erik Gustaf Boström in 1900.
Per Westerberg Born 2 August 1951 in Nyköping. Current Speaker of the Riksdag, of which he becamea member in 1979 (making him its oldestmember), since 2 October 2006. Graduated from Stockholm School of Economics in1974. Was employed at Saab-Scania in Södertälje from1974-1977; was also employed at Saab-Scania (thecar division) in Nyköping from 1979-1991. Was a member of the board of AB Karl W. Olsson in1974 and chairman of the Cewe Instrument AB 1984-1990 and of Elwia AB from 1985. Served as director of the Enterprise Agency FFVfrom 1983, and as a member of the PowerManagement Committee from 1978-1982, and of thecooperative inquiry 1980-1983, of the inquiry for therecovery of beverage containers from 1982-1983, and of the ownership investigation from 1995. His family has owned a business for generations.
Swedish Social Democratic Party Centre-left, social democratic political party. Contests elections as the Workers’ Party – The Social Democrats(Arbetarepartiet-Socialdemokraterna), even though it is more commonlyreferred to simply as the Social Democrats (Socialdemokraterna). Oldest and biggest political party in Sweden; was founded on 23 April1889. A break occurred in 1917 when the socialists left the Social Democratsto found the Swedish Social Democratic Left Party (now the Left Party). The SAP’s symbol is by tradition a red rose, thought to have beenFredrik Ström’s idea. Its political position has a hypothetical base within Marxist revisionism;its party program interchangeably refers to their ideology as democraticsocialism, or social democracy, but hardly any high-level delegates haveinvoked socialism since Olof Palme. Advocates social welfare provision paid for from progressive taxationand a social corporatist economy that involves the institutionalization ofa social partnership structure between capital and labor economicinterest groups, with government supervision to solve disagreementsbetween the two factions. Have also become strong advocators of feminism and fairness of allsorts in recent times, and are strongly opposed to what they see asdiscrimination and racism. Commenced the Red-Greens along with the Greens and the Left Partyon 7 December 2008; the parties contested the 2010 generalelection, but lost to the centre-right Alliance, and the Red-Green alliancefell on 26 November 2010. Member of Socialist International (International affiliation), Party ofEuropean Socialists (European affiliation), Progressive Alliance ofSocialists and Democrats (EP group), and SAMAK (Nordic affiliation).