Swedish Government Essay, Research Paper

Swedish GovernmentConstitutional lawThe Swedish Constitution consists of four separate paperss: the Instrument of Government ( Regeringsformen ) passed in 1974, the Act of Succession ( Successionsordningen ) dating from 1810, the Freedom of the Press Act ( Tryckfrihetsf rordningen ) of 1949 ( arising from 1766 ) , and the Freedom of Expression Act ( Yttrandefrihetsgrundlagen ) of 1991. In add-on, there is a Parliament Act ( Riksdagsordningen ) of 1974, which occupies a place midway between constitutional and ordinary legislative act jurisprudence. The Instrument of Government is the most of import constitutional papers. It went into consequence in 1975, when it replaced the 1809 Instrument of Government. The new Constitution brought about no extremist alterations in the prevailing system of authorities. The reform mostly involved a formal incorporation of current patterns into the written Constitution. Thus, the new Constitution is systematically based on the rules of popular sovereignty, representative democracy, and parliamentarism. A Parliament elected by the people occupies the pre-eminent place among the subdivisions of authorities ; it is the foundation for the democratic exercising of power through the Cabinet. The reforming of the Constitution did non stop with the passage of the new Instrument of Government. In 1976 and 1979, Parliament passed Torahs amending the Constitution. The purpose of both amendments was to beef up the constitutional protection of the human rights and cardinal freedoms. The new Freedom of Expression Act protects freedom of look on the wireless and telecasting, in movies, pictures and sound recordings, etc. , and is based on the same rules as the Freedom of the Press Act. Thus, for illustration, the prohibition on censoring and freedom of constitution now applies to the full field of modern mass media. Merely when it comes to the usage of wireless broadcast medium frequences might the rule of freedom of constitution non apply as it does for the freedom of the imperativeness. Further, movies and pictures for public showing may besides be capable to preliminary examination. In 1994 the Instrument of Government was amended in order to do it possible for Sweden to fall in the European Union. The understanding on Sweden & # 8217 ; s entry into the EU was ratified by Parliament in December that twelvemonth. The KingThe King of Sweden since September 1973 Carl XVI Gustaf exerts no political power and takes no portion in political relations. He represents the state. Harmonizing to the Constitution he is the Head of State. In this capacity he performs merely ceremonial responsibilities and maps as the official representative of Sweden. One of these official responsibilities is to open the one-year session of Parliament in September. He does non take portion in the deliberations of the Cabinet, nor does he hold to subscribe any Government determinations. His earlier function in choosing a new Prime Minister has been taken over by the Speaker of Parliament. In 1979, the Act of Succession was amended in order to give males and females equal rights to the throne. As from 1980, this right belongs to the first-born, irrespective of gender. The CabinetPolitical power remainders with the Cabinet ( regering ) and the party or parties it represents. There are 22 curates ( 11 work forces and 11 adult females ) in the Cabinet. The Prime Minister ( statsminister ) has at his side a Deputy Prime Minister and 13 Heads of Ministry ( departementschef ) . The latter are the curates of 1. justness, 2. foreign personal businesss, 3. defence, 4. wellness and societal personal businesss, 5. conveyance and communications, 6. finance, 7. instruction and scientific discipline, 8. agribusiness, 9. labour, 10. civilization, 11. industry and trade, 12. the inside, and 13. the environment. The present Cabinet besides includes seven curates without portfolio. At times, independent experts are called upon to function on the Cabinet. As a regulation, nevertheless, the curates are representatives of the political party or parties in power. In many instances they are members of Parliament, retaining their seats in Parliament while functioning on the Cabinet. A replacement takes over the parliamentary responsibilities of any MP who has been appointed to the Cabinet, and this continues every bit long as the MP remains in the Cabinet. In other words, a Cabinet curate has to give up his right to vote in Parliament. All curates are, nevertheless, entitled to take portion in parliamentary arguments. Harmonizing to the Constitution, the formal power of governmental determination remainders with the Cabinet, non the sovereign. If the Cabinet has resigned, the Speaker of Parliament is required to confabulate with the leaders of the parliamentary parties and with the Deputy Speakers before suggesting a new Prime Minister. Parliament so votes on this proposal. If an absolute bulk ballots against the proposal, it is considered to hold failed. Otherwise it is considered sanctioned. The Speaker thereupon appoints the Prime Minister, who in bend appoints all other Cabinet curates. If the Prime Minister so requests, the Speaker can dispatch him. The same applies if Parliament declares that the Prime Minister does non bask its assurance. Other Cabinet curates may be dismissed either by the Prime Minister or by Parliament through a ballot of no assurance. Functions of ministriesThe ministries ( departement ) are little units, each as a regulation dwelling of no more than approximately 100 individuals ( including clerical staff ) . They are concerned with 1. fixing the Government & # 8217 ; s measures to Parliament on budget appropriations and Torahs, 2. publishing Torahs and ordinances and general regulations for the administrative bureaus ( see below ) , 3. international dealingss, 4. assignments of functionaries in the disposal, and 5. certain entreaties from persons, which are addressed to the Government. Except for these entreaties, the ministries are by and large non concerned with inside informations of disposal. Matters refering the practical execution of statute law or general regulations may, nevertheless, in assorted ways e.g. through the media be brought before the ministries. Working methods of the CabinetThe Cabinet as a whole is responsible for all Government determinations. Although in pattern a great figure of everyday affairs are decided upon by single curates and merely officially confirmed by the Government, the rule of corporate duty is reflected in all signifiers of authorities work. Once a hebdomad, the formal determinations of the Government are made at a meeting presided over by the Prime Minister. All of import determinations to be made by the Government are capable to old treatment by the Cabinet as a whole. Plenary meetings under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister are usually held one to three times a hebdomad. At these meetings, top functionaries frequently introduce the affairs at manus and answer to inquiries raised by curates, whereupon the Cabinet treatments and ( informal ) determinations proceed behind closed doors. No proceedingss are taken. As a regulation, Cabinet members lunch together in their private eating house in the Government Office, where no invitees are admitted. In pattern, a great figure of determinations are made rather informally at these tiffins after a briefing given by the curate concerned. A 3rd informal sort of Cabinet decision-making is when two or three curates discuss a affair with or without the presence of functionaries from their ministries in order to make understanding without taking up the clip of the whole Cabinet. The working methods therefore described allow for a high grade of coordination between all the subdivisions of Government in affairs of policy. The functionaries of the ministries frequently meet one another in order to fix determinations. Before going concluding and public, all determinations of involvement to more than one ministry are commented upon by top functionaries of the ministries concerned. An of import characteristic of the working methods of the Government is that all measures to be presented and of import ministerial dictums ( replies to inquiries, etc. ) to be made in Parliament on behalf of the Government, are circulated beforehand to all curates for their written remarks. This system allows for exchange of information and treatment between Cabinet curates and top functionaries before the formal determinations are taken. The ministries at workThe existent operation of the ministries differs slightly from one ministry to another although the cardinal set-up is really much the same. The undermentioned history is applicable to the present working methods of the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs. This ministry has six divisions which deal with societal insurance, kids and households, societal services, wellness attention, the handicapped and aged, and administrative jurisprudence. Four secretariats deal with planning and budgetary inquiries, international dealingss, long-run analysis and legal affairs, carry throughing an consultative and organizing map for the specialised units referred to above. The highest-ranking functionaries of the ministry are the Under- Secretary of State ( statssekreterare ) , the Permanent Under- Secretary ( expeditionschef ) , and the Under-Secretary for Legal Affairs ( r ttschef ) . The Under-Secretary of State is responsible to the curate for taking the work within the ministry. It is therefore up to him to be after the ministry & # 8217 ; s work, to oversee the executing of this work and to set up the necessary coordination between the activities of the different ministerial units. The Permanent Under-Secretary supervises the legality and consistence of administrative determinations to be made within the ministry and is responsible for the concluding drafting of Government determinations to be dispatched from the ministry. The Under-Secretary for Legal Affairs is chiefly responsible for the drafting of Torahs and ordinances within the ministry & # 8217 ; s sphere of authorization. The Under-Secretaries of State are among the few political appointees of the ministries. An Under-Secretary & # 8217 ; s station as such does non entitle him to talk in Parliament, but there is a hearer & # 8217 ; s place for him in the assembly hall. The Under-Secretary represents the ministry and the curate. He is frequently a delegate to international conferences. All functionaries of the ministries are appointed by the Cabinet ( or by the curate concerned ) ; Parliament has no right to step in or go through judgement on the assignments. In the instance of a alteration of party or parties in office, limited alterations take topographic point in the cell of functionaries. Under-Secretaries of State, political advisors and information officers are all recognized as political appointees and have to vacate when there is a alteration of Government. All civil retainers in Sweden every bit good as military and police forces are free to take portion in political life and to keep political office. Committees of inquiryAs a regulation, the readying of legislative or other reforms is non handled by the ministerial staff entirely. In affairs of major importance the undermentioned process is normal: the Government on its ain enterprise or at the petition of Parliament calls upon a group of experts to function on a committee of enquiry ( utredning ) . The undertakings of the committee are specified in a written statement by the curate concerned, approved by the Government. Committees may include members of Parliament, both from the Government and the Opposition, representatives of labour and direction organic structures or other organisations interested in the jobs at manus, and experts from the scientific universe or the administrative organic structures concerned usually 5 10 people in all. The secretariat although in most instances organized as an independent office is provided by the appropriate ministry, which besides pays the disbursals of the committee. The committees are given a high grade of freedom to prosecute their enquiries through travel, hearings, research, etc. The proceedings are, in general, closed to the populace but are frequently closely followed by the imperativeness until the twenty-four hours when they publish their printed study ( bet nkande ) . A committee frequently works for one or two old ages, sometimes longer. In many instances, the proposals of the committees are consentaneous, at least on affairs of rule, but members may hold alternate proposals printed in the study. Every committee study is sent by the ministry concerned to assorted administrative bureaus and non-governmental organisations for their official remarks ( remiss ) . Any organisation, whether approached in this manner or non, is free to do known its sentiments to the ministry. The stuff therefore assembled is reported though usually non in full as background to Government measures to Parliament. Consequently, a measure is frequently a heavy papers sometimes 100s of pages in which the Government has to reason its place in the visible radiation of a really thorough public treatment reproduced in the measure. MPs can easy detect whether or non the Government has followed the wants or purposes brought to the bow by party representatives or the organisations they favor. This method is cumbrous and frequently time-consuming. It is, nevertheless, considered to be a really valuable signifier of democratic authorities. The parties of the resistance, straight taking portion in the readying of political determinations, are given a opportunity to act upon the Government before it takes its place. Administrative organizationThe enforcement of Government determinations is entrusted to a figure of cardinal administrative bureaus. For illustration, under the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs come the National Board of Health and Welfare, the National Social Insurance Board, and certain other smaller bureaus. Every such bureau is headed by a manager general appointed by the Government, as a regulation for a period of six old ages at a clip. Sometimes a manager general is chosen from political circles. The board of an bureau consists of the manager general as president, a figure of the senior functionaries functioning under him and some laypersons, stand foring organisations or subdivisions of the population with particular involvement in the affairs of the bureau concerned. To some grade, politicians are besides included in this ballad component. Curates or ministerial organic structures can non interfere with the bureaus & # 8217 ; managing of peculiar administrative instances. All board members are appointed by the Government, as are senior functionaries of the bureaus. Less senior forces are appointed by the board itself. As a effect of their independent place, the cardinal bureaus are expected to subject proposals to the Government sing the policy to be followed by them. On the footing of their practical experience they frequently propose, in their several Fieldss, amendments to Torahs and ordinances decided upon by Parliament and Government. Such recommendations by bureaus are customarily circulated for scrutiny and written remark in the same manner as committee studies ( see above ) . AppealsIf a individual affected by the determination or administrative action of an bureau finds it unacceptable, he may appeal to a higher authorization. Entreaties chiefly refering subjective affairs or inquiries of aptitude, such as those related to civil service assignments, are normally settled in the concluding case by the Cabinet. Appeals chiefly affecting legal inquiries are as a regulation settled by administrative tribunals, with the last resort being the Second

upreme Administrative Court ( Regeringsr tten ) .

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The rule of public entree to official documentsMost functionary paperss are accessible to the imperativeness and to private citizens. All files of any administrative office are unfastened to the populace if non secret, harmonizing to the Freedom of the Press Act and the Secrecy Act, for grounds related to military security, international dealingss or the privateness of persons concerned ( because they contain condemnable or medical records and the similar ) , etc. Cipher is obliged to warrant his want to see a public papers or to uncover his individuality to acquire entree to the papers. ParliamentSince 1971, Sweden has had a unicameral Parliament ( riksdag ) . A constitutional amendment adopted in 1968 69 abolished the bicameral system which had existed since 1866. The whole Parliament is constituted by direct elections based on a right to vote that comprises all Swedes aged 18 or over, who are or have been resident in Sweden. Parliament has 349 members, who serve four-year footings. Eligibility to function in Parliament is capable to Swedish citizenship and the attainment of voting age. All elections are by relative representation. The electoral system is designed to guarantee a distribution of seats between the parties in proportion to the ballots cast for them nationally. Proportional equity is non to be chiefly achieved in each electoral territory but in the whole state regarded as a individual electoral territory. Hence, in add-on to 310 fixed electoral territory seats, 39 seats are distributed at big so as to obtain a just, nationally relative consequence. However, the at-large seats are besides filled by campaigners from the parties & # 8217 ; regular electoral axial rotations. There is one exclusion to the regulation on complete national proportionality: a quota regulation intended to forestall really little parties from deriving representation in Parliament. A party must therefore derive at least 4 % of the national ballot to measure up for representation. In any one electoral territory, nevertheless, a party will be allocated a figure of the fixed seats by obtaining 12 % of the ballots, even if its national popular ballot falls short of 4 % . A newly-elected Parliament commences its first session and term of office 15 yearss after the election. The trades and professions of Swedish society are reasonably good represented in Parliament, although public sector employees are overrepresented. Following the 1994 election the proportion of adult females in Parliament has risen to 41 % . To execute the map of control that is so of import for a representative assembly, Parliament may, with an absolute bulk, pass a ballot of no assurance taking either to the surrender of single curates or of the whole Government. However, a ballot of no assurance is of no consequence if the Government calls for new elections within one hebdomad. The unicameral Parliament has a praesidium consisting of the Speaker ( talman ) and three Deputy Speakers. Each newly-elected Parliament appoints for its four-year term at least 15 standing commissions ( utskott ) , of which one is on the Constitution, one trades with budgeting and finance, one trades with revenue enhancements, and the balance are specialized organic structures, mostly matching to the division of ministries. Additional commissions may be constituted while Parliament is in session. On these commissions parties are represented in proportion to their strength. Committees may let Cabinet curates to go to their meetings in order to supply information. Ministerial functionaries are frequently requested to go to such meetings in order to supply accounts and other relevant information. Posts in the parliamentary praesidium every bit good as the chairmanship of commissions are harmonizing to free understanding among the parties by and large distributed among the parties. During the first 15 yearss after the Government has presented its Budget Bill, single members are entitled to present measures ( gesture ) on any topic. After the bringing of each Government measure ( proposition ) , a period of 15 yearss is allotted to the MPs to suggest amendments. All such measures and MPs & # 8217 ; measures are referred to commissions, where they are discussed exhaustively. Committees frequently invite written remarks on MPs & # 8217 ; measures or, on occasion, hold hearings on Government measures. All affairs dealt with in commission are reported to Parliament in plenary session. To kill a proposal in commission by sitting on a measure is non possible. Committee studies by and large contain a thorough history of historical and other relevant facts connected with the proposal. Cabinet members are expected to support their measures in the plenary Sessionss. Curates usually do non take portion in the arguments on single members & # 8217 ; measures. Such measures, when non related to a Government measure before Parliament, as a regulation consequence in a petition to the Government to look into the issue raised or to set frontward, for a hereafter session, a proposal of a certain character. Although the right of MPs to talk is practically limitless, it is non possible by filibustering or otherwise to avoid determination on a affair which is before Parliament. The regulations of process being really clear and elaborate, procedural arguments are really rare. Parliament is in session for approximately eight months, the period mid- June September being free. Committees usually run into on Tuesdays and Thursdays, while plenary Sessionss are held on Tuesdays through Thursdays. The MPs have official replacements. The replacement takes over the parliamentary responsibilities of any MP who is a Cabinet curate or Speaker or who is absent for a month or longer. Because the Speaker has a replacement, he or she can non ( among other things ) ballot in Parliament. As coordinator of the work of Parliament, the Speaker is expected to stand above party political relations. Dissolution of ParliamentGeneral elections are held on the 3rd Sunday of September every 4th twelvemonth ( between 1970 and 1994 the authorization period was three old ages ) . The Government has the right to name for excess elections between the regular 1s. The authorization of an excess election is valid merely for the staying part of the regular four-year parliamentary term of office. ReferendaReferenda are permitted by the Constitution in two different instances. Parliament may ordain a jurisprudence harmonizing to which a consultative referendum is to be held. As yet, merely five advisory referenda have taken topographic point. The latest was held in November 1994 on the inquiry of Sweden & # 8217 ; s entry into the European Union. In 1979, the Constitution was amended so that decisive referenda may be held on amendments to the Constitution. One tierce of the MPs can convey about such a referendum, which so shall be held at the same time with the general elections. As yet, no such referendum has taken topographic point. The political partiesThe seven parties soon in Parliament are the Moderate Party ( Moderata Samlingspartiet, M ) , the Liberal Party ( Folkpartiet Liberalerna, FP ) , the Center Party ( Centerpartiet, C ) , the Christian Democrats ( Kristdemokraterna, KD ) , the Green Party ( Milj partiet de Gr na, MP ) , the Social Democratic Party ( Socialdemokratiska Arbetarepartiet, S ) , and the Left Party ( V nsterpartiet, V ) . The parties are good organized both in Parliament and outdoors. The Social Democratic Party is closely allied with the preponderantly blue-collar Swedish Trade Union Confederation, LO, which has a figure of Social Democratic representatives in Parliament. Since 1966, State subsidies have been paid to every political party which has any important support from the electors, as manifested in the general elections. These financess are paid in the signifier of party subsidies and secretariat subsidies. A party is eligible for party subsidies if it has received at least one place in Parliament or 2.6 % of the ballots throughout the whole state at either of the last two elections. To measure up for secretariat subsidies, a party is required, in rule, either to hold won a place in Parliament in the last election or to hold received at least 4 % of the ballots in the whole state at that election. The size of the subsidies is related to party strength. Secretariat subsidies are larger for resistance parties than for parties in office. A sum of about SEK 133.4 million will be distributed to the parties with seats in Parliament in financial 1997. No conditions are attached to the subsidies, nor is at that place any public audit of their outgo. Between 1932 and 1976, the Social Democrats were in office continuously except for an interregnum of 100 yearss in 1936. Between 1933 and 1936, they had a on the job understanding with the Center Party. Coalition authoritiess of Social Democrats and the Center Party were in power in 1936 1939 and 1951 1957. During World War II, 1939 1945, all parties except the Communists were represented in a alliance authorities. During the old ages 1945 1951 and 1957 1976, the Social Democrats were in office entirely. In the 1976 elections, the non-socialist parties together won a bulk of parliamentary seats. The Social Democratic Government resigned and was succeeded by a alliance made up of the Center, the Moderates and the Liberal Party. The Center Party president became Prime Minister. After two old ages in office, this alliance Government was succeeded by a Liberal Party minority Government. In the 1979 elections, the non-socialist parties together kept the bulk of parliamentary seats with the narrowest border possible ( 175 out of 349 ) . A new tripartite alliance Government was formed. In the spring of 1981, the Moderate Party left the Government. In the 1982 elections, the non-socialist parties lost their bulk of parliamentary seats. The alliance Government was succeeded by a Social Democratic minority Government ( 166 out of 349 seats ) . After the 1985 elections, the Social Democrats remained in power ( 159 seats ) , every bit good as after the 1988 elections when they won 156 seats. In the 1991 elections, the Social Democrats received merely 138 seats and the Government was succeeded by a non-socialist minority Government made up of the Moderates, Liberals, Center and Christian Democrats ( with a sum of 170 seats ) . In the 1994 election three of the four alliance parties lost seats and the Government resigned. The Social Democrats ( with 161 seats ) formed a new minority Government. All political organisations enjoy full freedom and all democratic rights. The freedom of the imperativeness has no bounds in Sweden every bit far as political relations is concerned. Almost half the day-to-day imperativeness in footings of circulation figures supports the Liberal Party or has a political doctrine chiefly reflecting Liberal values, while merely under one one-fourth favors the Moderates and another one-fourth the Social Democrats. The Center and other parties have comparatively few newspapers. The function of organizationsRepresentatives of involvement organisations of different sorts sit in Parliament, function on committees of enquiry and on the boards of some of the administrative bureaus. These organisations are invited to subject remarks on all kinds of proposals forwarded within the disposal or Parliament. Their positions are recorded in the official publications of the political system. The above applies particularly to organisations stand foring blue- collar workers, salaried employees, adult females, employers, consumers & # 8217 ; and manufacturers & # 8217 ; co-ops, smallholders, industry, concern, the wholesale and retail trades, renters, landlords, etc. Since 1977, the brotherhoods stand foring civil retainers have enjoyed certain rights to negociate with the State in its function as an employer refering planned reforms and the similar which may impact the employees & # 8217 ; working conditions. However, contracts which infringe on political democracy are non permitted. At the top degree, in the Government Office, taking personalities from direction and labour, industry and trade, etc. , are invited to function on certain consultative commissions. Therefore they sit on advisory organic structures for affairs associating to employment policies, building issues, etc. It would look that force per unit area groups in Sweden should non truly be called by that name, since they constitute a regular portion of the democratic system itself. Not merely are they involved in public treatment, but they besides play a responsible portion in existent disposal at all degrees. Local administrationBefore 1971, Sweden was divided into 850 municipalities ( kommun ) , each with an elected assembly. This figure has now been reduced to 288. The powers and responsibilities of the municipalities relate to the proviso of a broad scope of services and installations: lodging, roads, sewage and H2O supply, basic instruction, public aid, attention of the aged, kid public assistance, etc. They have the right to impose income revenue enhancements and have the gross of a modest revenue enhancement on existent estate. They charge fees for assorted services. Thus they are able, to a grade which appears extended when compared with other states, to supply public services at their ain discretion. At the same clip, they are bound by jurisprudence and ordinances to supply a figure of basic services. Between national and municipal authorities there is a regional degree of authorities, composed of 23 counties ( fifty N ) . The national disposal in each of these counties is represented by a county governor ( landsh vding ) and a county administrative board ( fifty nsstyrelse ) . The county governors are appointed by the Government for six-year footings ; they are frequently chosen from among politicians but usually leave the political scene upon their assignment. The most of import concern of a county disposal is transacted by the board, of which the county governor is president. The board members are appointed by the county council ( landsting ) . For certain undertakings of a basically local character, each county has an elected county council. These assemblies are responsible chiefly for wellness attention, including the proviso of infirmary services, certain types of instruction and vocational preparation. The county councils are entitled to enforce an income revenue enhancement to cover their disbursals. Since the 1976 elections immigrants occupant for three old ages in Sweden have had the right to vote and run for office in local elections both for municipalities and county councils. The budgetThe Swedish financial twelvemonth runs from January 1 to December 31. Each twelvemonth, all authorities boards and similar bureaus present their budget petitions for the following financial twelvemonth. The ministries concerned scrutinize these petitions and send on their ain petitions to the Ministry of Finance. A particular board provides estimations of national gross for the following twelvemonth, and a subdivision of the Ministry of Finance outlines an economic study, the alleged national budget. In September, the Government presents its Budget Bill to Parliament, which makes the concluding budget determinations in December. SEK 1 ( Swedish krona ) = USD 0.13 or GBP 0.08 ( May 1997 ) Parties in the Cabinet since 1945Year Party/ies Prime Minister1945 1951 S P.A. Hansson/ T. Erlander1951 1957 S/C T. Erlander1957 1976 S T. Erlander/ O. Palme1976 1978 C/M/FP T. F lldin ( C ) 1978 1979 FP O. Ullsten1979 1981 C/M/FP T. F lldin1981 1982 C/FP T. F lldin1982 1991 S O. Palme/ I. Carlsson1991 1994 M/FP/C/KD C. Bildt ( M ) 1994 1996 S I. Carlsson1996- S G. Persson