The Riksdag

The Riksdag of Sweden

Basic principles of the Parliament in Sweden

In the Swedish Constitution: The Instrument of Government (SFS nr: 1974:152)

Chapter 3 of the Instrument of Government has the headline ” The Riksdag”. Here is the content of Chapter 3:

  • Article 1 provides the following: The Riksdag is appointed by means of free, secret and direct elections. Voting in such elections is by party, with an option for the voter to express a preference for a particular candidate. The Riksdag consists of a single chamber comprising three hundred and forty-nine members. Alternates shall be appointed for members.
  • Article 2 provides the following: Every Swedish citizen who is currently domiciled within the Realm or who has ever been domiciled within the Realm is entitled to vote in a Riksdag election. A person who has not attained the age of eighteen on or before election day is not entitled to vote. The question of whether a right to vote exists under paragraph one is determined on the basis of an electoral roll drawn up prior to the election.
  • Article 3 provides the following: Ordinary elections for the Riksdag are held every four years. (see more about the Constitution of Sweden here)
  • Article 4 provides the following: The Government may order an extraordinary election for the Riksdag to be held between ordinary elections. An extraordinary election is held within three months from the issue of such an order. After an election for the Riksdag has been held, the Government is debarred from calling an extraordinary election until three months from the date on which the newly-elected Riksdag first convened. Neither may the Gov-ernment call an extraordinary election while ministers remain at their posts, after all have been formally discharged, pending assumption of office by a new Government. Rules for an extraordinary election in a particular case are set out in Chapter 6, Article 3.
  • Article 5 provides the following: A newly-elected Riksdag convenes on the fifteenth day following election day but no sooner than the fourth day after the result of the election has been declared. Each election is valid for the period from the date on which the newly-elected Riksdag convenes to the date on which the Riksdag elected next thereafter convenes. This period is the electoral period of the Riksdag.
  • Article 6 provides the following: The Realm is divided up into constituencies for the purpose of elections for the Riksdag. The Riksdag comprises three hundred and ten fixed constituency seats and thirty-nine adjustment seats. The fixed constituency seats are distributed among the constituencies on the basis of a calculation of the relationship between the number of persons entitled to vote in each constituency, and the total number of persons entitled to vote throughout the whole of the Realm. The distribution of seats among the constituencies is determined for four years at a time.
  • Article 7 provides the following: The seats are distributed among parties. Party is understood to mean any association or group of voters which runs for election under a particular designation. Only a party which receives at least four per cent of the votes cast throughout the whole of the Realm is entitled to share in the distribution of seats. A party receiving fewer votes however participates in the distribution of the fixed constituency seats in any constituency in which it receives at least twelve per cent of the votes cast.
  • Article 8 provides the following: The fixed constituency seats in each constituency are distributed proportionately among the parties on the basis of the election result in that constituency. The adjustment seats are distributed among the parties in such a way that the distribution of all the seats in the Riksdag, other than those fixed constituency seats which have been allocated to a party polling less than four per cent of the national vote, is in proportion to the total number of votes cast throughout the whole of the Realm for the respective parties participating in the distribution of seats. If, in the distribution of the fixed constituency seats, a party obtains seats which exceed the number corresponding to the proportional representation of that party in the Riksdag, then that party and the fixed constituency seats which it has obtained are disregarded in distributing the adjustment 9 seats. The adjustment seats are allocated to constituencies after they have been distributed among the parties. The odd-number method is used to distribute the seats among the parties, with the first divisor adjusted to 1.4.
  • Article 9 provides the following: One member is appointed for each seat a party obtains, together with alternates for that member. (see more about the Constitution of Sweden here)
  • Article 10 provides the following: Only a person who is entitled to vote may be a member or alternate member of the Riksdag.
  • Article 11 provides the following: Appeals against elections for the Riksdag may be lodged with an Election Review Board appointed by the Riksdag. A person who has been elected a member of the Riksdag exercises his mandate regardless of any such appeal. If the result of the election is revised, a new member takes his seat immediately after the revised result has been declared. This applies in like manner to alternate members. The Election Review Board consists of a chairman, who shall be currently, or shall have been previously, a permanent salaried judge and who may not be a member of the Riksdag, and six other members. The members are elected after each ordinary election, as soon as the result of the election becomes final, and serve until a new election for the Board is held. The chairman is elected separately. There is no right of appeal against a decision of the Board.
  • Article 12 provides the following: Further rules concerning matters under Articles 2 to 11 and concerning the appointment of alternates for Riksdag members are laid down in the Riksdag Act or in another act of law. (see more about the Constitution of Sweden here)

Chapter 4 of the Instrument of Government has the headline ” The Work of the Riksdag”. Here is the content of Chapter 4:

  • Article 1 provides the following: The Riksdag convenes in session every year. Sessions are held in Stockholm, unless otherwise determined by the Riksdag or the Speaker, having regard to the liberty or safety of parliament. (see more about the Constitution of Sweden here)
  • Article 2 provides the following: The Riksdag appoints a Speaker and First, Second, and Third Deputy Speakers from among its members for each electoral period.
  • Article 3 provides the following: The Government and every member of the Riksdag has the right to introduce proposals on any matter coming within the jurisdiction of the Riksdag, in accordance with more detailed rules laid down in the Riksdag Act, unless otherwise provided in the present Instrument of Government. The Riksdag elects committees from among its members in accordance with rules laid down in the Riksdag Act, and these shall include a Committee on the Constitution and a Committee on Finance. Any matter raised by the Government or by a member of the Riksdag shall be prepared by a committee before it comes up for settlement, unless otherwise provided in the present Instrument of Government.
  • Article 4 provides the following: When a matter comes up for decision in the Chamber, every member of the Riksdag and every minister has the right to speak in accordance with more detailed rules laid down in the Riksdag Act. Rules concerning grounds for disqualification are laid down in the Riksdag Act.
  • Article 5 provides the following: When a vote is taken in the Riksdag, the opinion in which more than half of those voting concur constitutes the decision of the Riksdag, unless specially provided otherwise in the present Instrument of Government or, in the case of matters relating to Riksdag procedure, in a principal provision of the Riksdag Act. Rules concerning the procedure to be followed in the event of a tied vote are laid down in the Riksdag Act.
  • Article 6 provides the following: A member of the Riksdag or an alternate for such a member may exercise his mandate as a member notwithstanding any official duty or other similar obligation incumbent upon him. (see more about the Constitution of Sweden here)
  • Article 7 provides the following: A member of the Riksdag or an alternate for such a member may not resign his mandate without the Riksdag’s consent. Where grounds exist, the Election Review Board shall examine on its own initiative whether a particular member or an alternate is qualified under Chapter 3, Article 10. A person pronounced to be disqualified is deprived thereby of his mandate. A member or an alternate may be deprived of his mandate in cases other than cases under paragraph two only if he has proved himself manifestly unfit to hold a mandate by reason of a criminal act. A decision in such a case shall be taken by a court of law.
  • Article 8 provides the following: No person may take legal action against a person who holds a man-date as a member of the Riksdag, or who has held such a mandate, deprive him of liberty, or restrict his movements within the Realm on account of an act or statement made in the exercise of his mandate, unless the Riksdag has given its consent thereto in a decision in which at least five sixths of those voting concur. If, in any other case, a member of the Riksdag is suspected of having committed a criminal act, the relevant rules of law concerning arrest, detention or remand are applied only if he admits guilt or was caught in the act, or the minimum penalty for the offence is imprisonment for a minimum of two years.
  • Article 9 provides the following: During such time as a member is acting as Speaker of the Riksdag or is a member of the Government, his mandate as a member shall be exercised by an alternate. The Riksdag may stipulate in the Riksdag Act that an alternate shall replace a member when the latter is on leave of absence. The rules laid down in Articles 6 and 8, paragraph one, concerning protection in respect of the exercise of a mandate as a member of the Riksdag apply also to the Speaker and the Speaker’s mandate. The rules relating to a member of the Riksdag apply also to an alternate exercising a mandate as a member.
  • Article 10 provides the following: Further rules concerning the work of the Riksdag are laid down in the Riksdag Act. (see more about the Constitution of Sweden here)

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