Voting in the Swedish elections? Here is what you need to know

Mundus News

Sweden heads to the polls on 9 September and the polls indicate that Sweden is heading towards another hung parliament.  Following the Swedish election day in September, Sweden could be forced to resolve a more complex government formation than in a very long time. Instead of just the two traditional blocs, the opinion polls point to the fact that three parties – the Social Democrats, the Moderates and the Swedish Democrats – will be of similar size. None of them are expected to have a base for forming a majority government, and the process from voting to forming a government may well take weeks, or even months. Therefore, At this stage, the only really conceivable governments are extremely narrow, minority governments. That could mean a narrow Moderate government or a narrow Social Democrat government, depending on what the parties in the centre prefer. Or yet another relatively weak minority coalition. A Social Democrat/Centre Party/Liberal coalition government could be a viable option but would only have majority support if the Green Party makes the 4% Riksdag threshold. But no matter the outcome, the Sweden Democrats will not be without a say. If the Alliance parties fail to form government together, one cannot exclude the possibility that SD becomes an affiliate to a Moderate and Christian Democratic government. That is, if KD makes the Riksdag threshold.

A recent survey suggested that Alliance voters would prefer working with the Social Democrats rather than working with the Sweden Democrats. That would mean old coalitions dissolved and new ones built. The likelihood of a cross-bloc broad coalition ultimately depends on how far the other parties are willing to go to deprive the Sweden Democrats of becoming kingmakers. But while many voters are in favour of a broad cross-bloc government, such a broad government would lack political ambitions and merely be a way to keep the Sweden Democrats from power and with the risk of backlashing in the next election. As the Centre Party’s leader Annie Lööf put it; broad coalition governments are only for real economic crises or in times of war.

The elections

Elections to the Riksdag are held every four years, on the second Sunday in September. In 2018, the elections will be held on 9 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 2018 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 (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:

  • a Swedish citizen and are, or have been, registered for population purposes in Sweden.
Municipal- and county councils

You are entitled to vote in the elections to the decision-making bodies of municipal and county councils elections if you are:

  • a Swedish citizen and have been registered for population purposes in Sweden
  • a citizen of one of the European Union’s member states, or a citizen of Iceland or Norway, and are registered for population purposes in Sweden
  • are a citizen of some other country and have been registered for population purposes in Sweden for 3 years in succession

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 Elections Guide will set the scene and is a good introduction tothe Swedish political parties. Download it here.

Sveriges Radio has a great Election Compass in seven different languages where you answer questions to find out which party you are most closely sympathising with.

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. Our coverage includes a scene setter for the Swedish elections; a review of issues shaping the campaign with an outline of the positions of the political parties; how the elections are run and analysis of the political parties. The election coverage in the Monthly Policy Review will conclude with a wrap-up of the election with a look at the major issues and possible cabinet ministers.

Compiled research & analysis in the Mundus Store

We have pulled together our Mundus research and analysis published across a number of publications in the Elections ´18 – research & analysis report available in the Mundus Store. In addition to providing the history, context and technicalities of the poll, it also presents a detailed comparison of the parties policies across a broad range of topics, including economic policies, the EU, welfare and immigrations and integration.

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