Sweden’s election and the aftermath – some important dates

swedish election

The tension is great ahead of this weekend’s election, with the election campaign dominated by blockages between the traditional political party blocs – the red-greens (S,MP,V) and the Alliance (M,C,L,KD).

The two blocs are tied in the polls, with neither anywhere near a Riksdag majority. The winning bloc is therefore likely to find it hard to govern without support from the other alliance or the SD. By all indications, the Riksdag election will not result in any clear government alternatives.

After the election the new Riksdag meets for a roll-call on 24 September. During the meeting, the members will elect, or re-elect, a Speaker and three Deputy Speakers for a four-year term. The posts of Deputy Speaker are allocated to the parties in relation to their size in the Riksdag. It may be complicated to appoint a Speaker to the Riksdag after the election. According to current practice, the party that is the largest in the coalition forming the government nominates a Speaker, but the Alliance parties have said they want to nominate a joint candidate no matter how it goes. In the prevailing unclear political situation, the Speaker’s role in appointing someone to form a government is an increasingly important issue.

When a new government is to be formed, the Speaker summons the leaders of all parties in the Riksdag and the Deputy Speakers for consultations. The retiring Speaker, Urban Ahlin (S) will prepare for the change of government by starting discussions with the party leaders immediately after the incumbent government has resigned, in order not to lose time. Ahlin will probably explore the possibility of cross-bloc governments. During the consultations, the Speaker usually instructs the party leaders to collectively review the possibilities of forming a government that will have the support of the Riksdag. The number and scope of these discussions can vary depending on how complicated the political situation is. Currently, opinion polls indicate a difficult parliamentary situation where neither bloc will be in majority. This would mean a complex situation for the Speaker, and the more complex the parliamentary situation, the more important the role of the Speaker. Only after the election of the new speaker on September 24 will we see concrete steps towards forming a government. Only the newly elected Speaker can formally propose a new Prime Minister. But finding a Prime Minister with the support of the Riksdag will be an elaborate and complicated process.