Voting in the election? Here is what you need to know

As the election campaign sputters towards poll date, Swedes of all persuasions are transfixed by confusion and uncertainty over which team will govern the country after the election. Like any democracy there is uncertainty in what the voting outcome will be. But at least here there are possibly some trends and reliability in what the opinion polls report. Unfortunately, plus or minus, the polls suggest an outcome pretty similar to the last election, with the left-of-centre block slightly ahead of the right-of-centres, i.e. a similar result to the last 2 elections that gave Sweden unstable and pusillanimous coalition governments headed by the left-leaning Social Democrats. Furthermore, where there has been change to stated party political positions this has further undermined the potential for development of strong governments with a forward-looking agenda. In response, voters have evidently become more disillusioned and distrusting of mainstream parties, particularly towards Sweden’s mainstay opposition party, The Moderates, which risks being consigned to a lowly third place.

Sadly for Sweden this comes at the same time as the challenges continue to add. In an environment where few underlying issues are being solved, this is weakening the foundations of Swedish society. 8 years ago, in the 2014 election campaign, the issues included welfare, especially education and healthcare and reforming a dysfunctional housing market. With the wave of Syrian and other refugees came immigration and integration challenges. By 2018, the need to restructure society to address climate change was a stronger theme. And now, with integration failing and the decision to close Sweden’s nuclear plants withdrawing vital capacity from the grid at a time of war, Sweden faces gang violence and spiralling energy prices. 

Sweden goes to the polls

Elections to the Riksdag are held every four years, on the second Sunday in September. In 2022, the elections will be held on 11 September. The Swedish electoral system is a proportional, which means that the number of seats any one party obtains in the Riksdag is proportional to the number of votes the party received in the election.  There are 349 seats in the Riksdag and the main rule is that a party must receive at least 4% of the votes in order to be represented in the Riksdag. County council and municipal council elections are held on the same day as the general election.

Are you eligible to vote?

To be able to vote in the Swedish 2022 elections you must be at least 18 years of age on Election Day. The information held in the population register of the Swedish Tax Agency (Sw. Skatteverket) 30 days before Election Day determines your right to vote.

THE RIKSDAG

You are entitled to vote in the election to the Riksdag if you are:

  • you are a Swedish citizen, and
  • you are now, or have been, registered in the population register.
MUNICIPAL- AND COUNTY COUNCILS

To be entitled to vote in the elections to the decision-making bodies of municipal and county councils elections:

  • you are recorded in the population register as a constituent of the municipality and region and
  • you are a Swedish citizen, a citizen of another EU Member State, Iceland or Norway, or
  • you are a citizen of another country or stateless but have been recorded in the Swedish Population Register for at least three consecutive years before election day.

How to vote

If you are entitled to vote you will receive a voting card in the mail in August. The voting card indicates which elections you are entitled to vote in. On the voting card you will also find information about venues where you can vote in advance. You need bring a valid identification such as a passport or a driver’s license, and your voting card when you go to cast your vote.  For more information about voting, contact the Swedish Election Authority.

If you are living abroad you can vote in advance either by letter or by voting at an embassy or consulate. Further information is available here.

Sweden’s political parties

Our 2022 Elections Guide will set the scene and is a good introduction tot he Swedish political parties. Download it from the pop-up form on this page.

Mundus International’s elections coverage

Need to understand where Sweden is heading post-September? Don’t worry we’ve got you covered. The Mundus Team consists of analysts and journalists with deep knowledge of Swedish current affairs. The team is headed by our CEO Jessica Nilsson Williams, who has covered Swedish politics for over 20 years in roles such as political advisor to the American Embassy under both the Clinton and Bush administrations.

Mundus International is covering daily news about the Swedish elections campaign, the results and the formation of government in Mundus News. You will find our political analysis in the Monthly Policy Review. 

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