Swedish Constitution

Swedish Constitution

Some details:

  • The Instrument of Government contains the basic principles of Swedens form of government: how the Government is to work, the fundamental freedoms and rights of the Swedish people and how elections to the Riksdag (Swedish parliament) are to be implemented. The adoption in 1974 of the Instrument of Government currently in force meant a considerable reduction in the powers of the monarchy. The King remained Head of State but with no political power whatsoever, while the Speaker of the Riksdag (Swedish parliament) was given the task of appointing the new prime minister in connection with changes of government. Fundamental laws are more difficult to amend than other laws. They may only be amended or abolished if two Riksdags have adopted identically formulated decisions, with an election intervening. No other laws or ordinances may conflict with the fundamental laws.
  • In addition to the Instrument of Government Sweden has three fundamental laws (Sveriges Grundlagar), the Act of Succession, the Freedom of the Press Act and the Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression. The Riksdag Act occupies an intermediate position between a fundamental law and ordinary law.
  • Act of Succession: It is laid down in the Instrument of Government that Sweden shall have a King or Queen as Head of State, but the Act of Succession enacted in 1810 regulates who is to inherit the throne. Until 1979 succession to the throne of Sweden was through the male blood line. Then the Riksdag decided that a woman could also inherit the throne.
  • The most recent Freedom of the Press Act was adopted in 1949 although Sweden established freedom of the press by law as early as 1766 and was first in the world to do so. Freedom of the press means the right to disseminate information in printed form but with accountability before the law. Another feature of the Freedom of the Press Act is citizens right to study public documents, the principle of public access to official documents.
  • The Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression was adopted in 1991 and is Swedens youngest fundamental law. Like the Freedom of the Press Act it contains provisions on free dissemination of information and prohibits censorship. It covers new media such as radio, TV, films and CD-ROM discs.
  • In addition to the fundamental laws, there is the Riksdag Act which holds a special status between fundamental law and ordinary law. To amend this Act only one Riksdag decision is required but it must be adopted by a qualified majority (at least three quarters of votes and the support of more than half the members). The Riksdag Act contains detailed provisions on the Riksdag and its workings.
  • On joining the EU Sweden was therefore obliged to make a few minor adjustments to the fundamental laws. Among other things, the Freedom of the Press Act was amended to enable the prohibition of advertisements for breast milk substitutes.

Contents

The Instrument of Government (SFS nr: 1974:152)

  • Chapter 1 of the Swedish Constitution: Basic principles of the form of government
  • Chapter 2 of the Swedish Constitution: Fundamental rights and freedoms
  • Chapter 3 of the Swedish Constitution: The Riksdag
  • Chapter 4 of the Swedish Constitution: The work of the Riksdag
  • Chapter 5 of the Swedish Constitution: The Head of State
  • Chapter 6 of the Swedish Constitution: The Government
  • Chapter 7 of the Swedish Constitution: The work of the Government
  • Chapter 8 of the Swedish Constitution: Acts of law and other provisions
  • Chapter 9 of the Swedish Constitution: Financial power
  • Chapter 10 of the Swedish Constitution: Relations with other states and international organisations
  • Chapter 11 of the Swedish Constitution: Administration of justice and general administration
  • Chapter 12 of the Swedish Constitution: Parliamentary control
  • Chapter 13 of the Swedish Constitution: War and danger of war

The Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression (SFS nr: 1991:1469)

  • Chapter 1 of the Swedish Constitution: Basic provisions
  • Chapter 2 of the Swedish Constitution: On the right to anonymity
  • Chapter 3 of the Swedish Constitution: On transmission, production and dissemination
  • Chapter 4 of the Swedish Constitution: On responsible editors
  • Chapter 5 of the Swedish Constitution: On freedom of expression offences
  • Chapter 6 of the Swedish Constitution: Liability rules
  • Chapter 7 of the Swedish Constitution: On supervision, prosecution and special coercive measures
  • Chapter 8 of the Swedish Constitution: On damages
  • Chapter 9 of the Swedish Constitution: On court proceedings in freedom of expression cases
  • Chapter 10 of the Swedish Constitution: On radio programmes and technical recordings emanating from abroad etc of the Swedish Constitution:
  • Chapter 11 of the Swedish Constitution: General provisions

The Freedom of the Press Act (SFS nr: 1949:105)

  • Chapter 1 of the Swedish Constitution: On the freedom of the press
  • Chapter 2 of the Swedish Constitution: On the public nature of official documents
  • Chapter 3 of the Swedish Constitution: On the right to anonymity
  • Chapter 4 of the Swedish Constitution: On the production of printed matter
  • Chapter 5 of the Swedish Constitution: On the publication of periodicals
  • Chapter 6 of the Swedish Constitution: On the dissemination of printed matter
  • Chapter 7 of the Swedish Constitution: On offences against the freedom of the press
  • Chapter 8 of the Swedish Constitution: Liability rules
  • Chapter 9 of the Swedish Constitution: On supervision and prosecution
  • Chapter 10 of the Swedish Constitution: On special coercive measures
  • Chapter 11 of the Swedish Constitution: On private claims for damages
  • Chapter 12 of the Swedish Constitution: On court proceedings in freedom of the press cases
  • Chapter 13 of the Swedish Constitution: On matter printed abroad etc
  • Chapter 14 of the Swedish Constitution: General provisions

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