The Riksdag (Swedish: [ˈrɪ̌ksdɑː(ɡ)] (listen), lit. transl."diet of the realm"; also Swedish: riksdagen [ˈrɪ̌ksdan] (listen) or Sveriges riksdag [ˈsvæ̌rjɛs ˈrɪ̌ksdɑː(ɡ)] (listen)) is the national legislature and the supreme decision-making body of Sweden. Since 1971, the Riksdag has been a unicameral legislature with 349 members (riksdagsledamöter), elected proportionally and serving, from 1994 onwards, on fixed four-year terms.

Riksdag of Sweden

Sveriges riksdag
Three Crowns
Andreas Norlén, (M)
since 24 September 2018
First Deputy Speaker
Åsa Lindestam, (S)
since 24 September 2018
Second Deputy Speaker
Lotta Johnsson Fornarve, (V)
since 24 September 2018
Third Deputy Speaker
Kerstin Lundgren, (C)
since 24 September 2018
President by age
Tuve Skånberg, (KD)
since 1 January 2020
Political groups
Caretaker Government (116)
  •   Social Democrats (100)
  •   Green Party (16)

Confidence and supply (31)

Opposition (202)

  •   Moderate Party (70)
  •   Sweden Democrats (62)
  •   Left Party (27)[1]
  •   Christian Democrats (22)
  •   Liberals (19)[2]
  •   Independent (2)
    • 1 former Left Party
    • 1 former Liberals
Party-list proportional representation
Sainte-Laguë method
See Elections in Sweden
Last election
9 September 2018
Next election
On or before September 2022
Meeting place
Parliament House
Stockholm, 100 12

    The constitutional functions of the Riksdag are enumerated in the Instrument of Government (Regeringsformen), and its internal workings are specified in greater detail in the Riksdag Act (Riksdagsordningen).[3][4]

    The seat of the Riksdag is at Parliament House (Swedish: Riksdagshuset [ˈrɪ̂ksdɑː(ɡ)sˌhʉːsɛt] (listen)), on the island of Helgeandsholmen in the central parts of Stockholm. The Riksdag has its institutional roots in the feudal Riksdag of the Estates, by tradition thought to have first assembled in Arboga in 1435, and in 1866 following reforms of the 1809 Instrument of Government that body was transformed into a bicameral legislature with an upper chamber (Första Kammaren) and a lower chamber (Andra Kammaren).

    The most recent general election was held on 9 September 2018.

    Due to the 2020 coronavirus outbreak, the number of MPs participating in votes was temporarily lowered from 349 to 55 for a renewable period of two weeks starting 16 March 2020.[5]

    The Old Parliament House on Riddarholmen was the seat of the Riksdag from 1833 to 1905.
    Kulturhuset at Sergels torg served as a temporary seat for the Riksdag, from 1971 to 1983, while the Riksdag building on Helgeandsholmen underwent renovation.


    The Swedish word riksdag, in definite form riksdagen, is a general term for "parliament" or "assembly", but it is typically only used for Sweden's legislature and certain related institutions.[6][7][8] In addition to Sweden's parliament, it is also used for the Parliament of Finland and the Estonian Riigikogu, as well as the historical German Reichstag and the Danish Rigsdagen.[8] In Swedish use, riksdagen is usually uncapitalized.[9] Riksdag derives from the genitive of rike, referring to royal power, and dag, meaning diet or conference; the German word Reichstag and the Danish Rigsdag are cognate.[10] The Oxford English Dictionary traces English use of the term "Riksdag" in reference to the Swedish assembly back to 1855.[10]


    Historical distribution of seats in the Swedish Riksdag 1902-2018.

    The roots of the modern Riksdag can be found in a 1435 meeting in the city of Arboga, however only three of the estates were probably present the nobility, the clergy and the burghers.[11] This informal organization was modified in 1527 by the first modern Swedish king Gustav I Vasa to include representatives from all the four social estates: the nobility, the clergy, the burghers (property-owning commoners in the towns such as merchants etc.), and the yeomanry (freehold farmers). This form of Ständestaat representation lasted until 1866, when representation by estate was abolished and the modern bicameral parliament established. Effectively, however, it did not become a parliament in the modern sense until parliamentary principles were established in the political system in Sweden, in 1917.

    On 22 June 1866, the Riksdag decided to reconstitute itself as a bicameral legislature, consisting of Första kammaren or the First Chamber, with 155 members and Andra kammaren or the Second Chamber with 233 members. The First Chamber was indirectly elected by county and city councillors, while the Second Chamber was directly elected by universal suffrage. This reform was a result of great malcontent with the old Estates, which, following the changes brought by the beginnings of the industrial revolution, was no longer able to provide representation for large segments of the population.

    By an amendment to the 1809 Instrument of Government, the general election of 1970 was the first to a unicameral assembly with 350 seats. The following general election to the unicameral Riksdag in 1973 only gave the Government the support of 175 members, while the opposition could mobilize an equal force of 175 members. In a number of cases a tied vote ensued, and the final decision had to be determined by lot. To avoid any recurrence of this unstable situation, the number of seats in the Riksdag was reduced to 349, from 1976 onwards.

    Powers and structure

    The Riksdag performs the normal functions of a legislature in a parliamentary democracy. It enacts laws, amends the constitution and appoints a government. In most parliamentary democracies, the head of state commissions a politician to form a government. Under the new Instrument of Government[12] (one of the four fundamental laws of the Constitution) enacted in 1974, that task was removed from the Monarch of Sweden and given to the Speaker of the Riksdag. To make changes to the Constitution under the new Instrument of Government, amendments must be approved twice, in two successive electoral periods with a regular general election held in between.

    There are 15 parliamentary committees in the Riksdag.[13]


    As of March 2020, 165 (47.2%) of the 349 members of the Riksdag are women. This is the world's seventh highest proportion of females in a national legislature.[14] Two parties have a majority representation of female MPs as of 2020; the Left Party (18 of 27, 66%) and the Moderate Party (37 out of 70, 52%). The party with the lowest share of female MPs is the Sweden Democrats (18 of 62, 29%).[15]

    Members of the Riksdag are full-time legislators with a salary of 66 900 SEK (around $7 400) per month.[16]

    According to a survey investigation by the sociologist Jenny Hansson, Members of the Riksdag have an average work week of 66 hours, including side responsibilities. Hansson's investigation further reports that the average member sleeps 6.5 hours per night.[17]

    The former second chamber, nowadays used for committee meetings.
    The Riksdag building exterior, from the west, at night.


    The presidium consists of a speaker and three deputy speakers. They are elected for a 4-year term.


    After holding talks with leaders of the various party groups in the Riksdag, the speaker of the Riksdag nominates a Prime Minister (Swedish: statsminister, literally minister of state). The nomination is then put to a vote. The nomination is rejected (meaning the Speaker must find a new nominee) only if an absolute majority of the members (175 members) vote "no"; otherwise, it is confirmed. This means the Riksdag can consent to a Prime Minister without casting any "yes" votes.

    After being elected the Prime Minister appoints the cabinet ministers and announces them to the Riksdag. The new Government takes office at a special council held at the Royal Palace before the Monarch, at which the Speaker of the Riksdag formally announces to the Monarch that the Riksdag has elected a new Prime Minister and that the Prime Minister has chosen his cabinet ministers.

    The Riksdag can cast a vote of no confidence against any single cabinet minister (Swedish: statsråd), thus forcing a resignation. To succeed, a vote of no confidence must be supported by an absolute majority (175 members) or it has failed.

    If a vote of no confidence is cast against the Prime Minister this means the entire government is rejected. A losing government has one week to call for a general election or else the procedure of nominating a new Prime Minister starts anew.


    Political parties are strong in Sweden, with members of the Riksdag usually supporting their parties in parliamentary votes. In most cases, governments can command the support of the majority in the Riksdag, allowing the government to control the parliamentary agenda.

    No single party has won a majority in the Riksdag since 1968. Political parties with similar agendas consequently cooperate on several issues, forming coalition governments or other formalized alliances. Two major blocs existed in parliament until 2019, the socialist/green Red-Greens and the conservative/liberal Alliance. The latter—consisting of the Moderate Party, Liberals, Centre Party, and Christian Democrats—governed Sweden from 2006 through most of 2014 (after 2010 through a minority government). The Red-Greens combination disbanded on 26 October 2010 but continued to be considered the main opposition until the 2014 election, following which the Social Democrats and the Green Party formed a government with support from the Left Party.[18] In 2019, after the 2018 election in which neither bloc won a majority of seats, the Social Democrats and Green Party formed a government with support from the Liberals and Centre Party, breaking the center-right Alliance. In March 2019, the Christian Democrats and Moderate Party signaled a willingness to talk with the Sweden Democrats.[19]

    Current party representation in the Riksdag[20]
    PartyLeadersSeatsSeat share (%)
    Social Democratic Party Stefan Löfven 100 28.7
    Moderate Party Ulf Kristersson 70 20.1
    Sweden Democrats Jimmie Åkesson 62 17.8
    Centre Party Annie Lööf 31 8.9
    Left Party Nooshi Dadgostar 27 7.7
    Christian Democrats Ebba Busch 22 6.3
    Liberals Nyamko Sabuni 19 5.4
    Green Party Märta Stenevi / Per Bolund 16 4.6
    Independent 2 0.6


    The offices of the parliament are housed in several buildings, including the former Royal mint on Mynttorget square.

    All 349 members of the Riksdag are elected in the general elections held every four years. All Swedish citizens who turn 18 years old no later than on the day of the election are eligible to vote in and stand for elections. A minimum of 4% of the national vote is required for a party to enter the Riksdag, alternatively 12% or more within a constituency. Substitutes for each deputy are elected at the same time as each election, so by-elections are rare. In the event of a snap election, the newly elected members merely serve the remainder of the four-year term.

    Constituencies and national apportionment of seats

    The electoral system in Sweden is proportional. Of the 349 seats in the unicameral Riksdag, 310 are fixed constituency seats allocated to 29 multi-member constituencies in relation to the number of people entitled to vote in each constituency. The remaining 39 adjustment seats are used to correct the deviations from proportional national distribution that may arise when allocating the fixed constituency seats. There is a constraint in the system that means that only a party that has received at least four per cent of the votes in the whole country participates in the distribution of seats. However, a party that has received at least twelve per cent of the votes in a constituency participates in the distribution of the fixed constituency seats in that constituency.[21]

    2018 election results

    Party Votes % Seats +/−
    Social Democratic PartyS1,830,38628.26100−13
    Moderate PartyM1,284,69819.8470−14
    Sweden DemocratsSD1,135,62717.5362+13
    Centre PartyC557,5008.6131+9
    Left PartyV518,4548.0028+7
    Christian DemocratsKD409,4786.3222+6
    Green PartyMP285,8994.4116−9
    Feminist InitiativeFI29,6650.460±0
    Alternative for SwedenAfS20,2900.310New
    Citizens' CoalitionMED13,0560.200New
    Pirate PartyPP7,3260.110±0
    The Direct DemocratsDD5,1530.080±0
    Independent Rural PartyLPo4,9620.080New
    Animal PartyDjuP3,6480.060±0
    Christian Values PartyKrVP3,2020.050±0
    Nordic Resistance MovementNMR2,1060.030New
    Classical Liberal PartyKLP1,5040.010±0
    Communist Party of SwedenSKP7020.010±0
    Basic Income Party6320.010New
    Security PartyTRP5110.010New
    Scania PartySKÅ2960.000±0
    Norrland partiet600.000New
    Libertarian Freedom PartyFRP530.000New
    European Workers PartyEAP520.000±0
    NY Reform320.000New
    Common Sense in SwedenCSIS210.000New
    Our Country – Sweden90.000New
    Reformist Neutral PartyRNP40.000±0
    People's Home Sweden20.000New
    Yellow PartyGup10.000±0
    Parties not on the ballot5880.010
    Invalid/blank votes58,546
    Registered voters/turnout7,495,93687.18
    Source: VAL
    Alliance Votes % Seats +/−
    Red-Greens (S+MP+V)[22]2,634,73940.68144−15
    The Alliance (M+C+L+KD)2,607,22240.26143+2
    Sweden Democrats (SD)1,135,62717.5362+13
    Invalid/blank votes58,546
    Registered voters/turnout7,495,93687.18
    Source: VAL

    See also

    • Parliament House, Stockholm
    • Referendums in Sweden


    1. "Vänsterpartiet saknar förtroende för statsministern". vansterpartiet.se. Left Party. Archived from the original on 20 June 2021. Retrieved 17 June 2021.
    2. "Sabuni avvisar invit från S och C". liberalerna.se. Liberals. Archived from the original on 24 June 2021. Retrieved 24 June 2021.
    3. Instrument of Government, as of 2012. Retrieved on 2012-11-16. Archived October 8, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
    4. The Riksdag Act, as of 2012. Retrieved on 2012-11-16. Archived February 1, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
    5. Runblom, Karin. "Riksdagen drar ner till 55 ledamöter på grund av viruset". Sveriges Radio (in Swedish). Retrieved 2020-03-16.
    6. Nöjd, Ruben; Tornberg, Astrid; Angström, Margareta (1978). "Riksdag (riksdagen)". Mckay's Modern English-Swedish and Swedish-English Dictionary. David Mckay. p. 147. ISBN 0-679-10079-2.
    7. Gullberg, Ingvar (1977). "Riksdag". Svensk-Engelsk Fackordbok. PA Norstedt & Söners Förlag. p. 741. ISBN 91-1-775052-0.
    8. "Riksdag". Nationalencyklopedin. 2014. Retrieved May 14, 2014.
    9. Holmes, Philip; Hinchliffe, Ian (2013). Swedish: A Comprehensive Grammar. Routledge. p. 670. ISBN 978-1134119981. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
    10. "Riksdag, n.". Oxford English Dictionary. June 2012. Retrieved May 14, 2014.
    11. riksdagen.se
    12. The Swedish Constitution, Riksdagen Archived January 10, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
    13. "The 15 parliamentary committees". Sveriges Riksdag / The Swedish Parliament. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
    14. "Percentage of women in national parliaments". New Parline: the IPU’s Open Data Platform (beta). Retrieved 2020-05-06.
    15. Riksdagsförvaltningen. "Ledamöter & partier". riksdagen.se (in Swedish). Retrieved 2020-05-06.
    16. Riksdagsförvaltningen. "Frågor & svar samt statistik över ledamöternas arvoden". www.riksdagen.se (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 2018-10-10. Retrieved 2018-11-04.
    17. "Hansson, Jenny (2008). De Folkvaldas Livsvillkor. Umea: Umea University" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-03-03.
    18. "Vi accepterar inte att Sveriges framtid, jobben och klimatet sätts på spel". Regeringskansliet (in Swedish). 2017-08-26. Retrieved 2017-10-17.
    19. "Christian Democrats willing to talk to all parties, including Sweden Democrats". Sveriges Radio. Retrieved 2019-03-22.
    20. "Ledamöter & partier" (in Swedish). Riksdag. Retrieved 2019-07-14.
    21. See e.g.: SOU 2008:125 En reformerad grundlag (Constitutional Reform), Prime Ministers Office.
    22. with F! 41.14 %
    • Larsson, Torbjörn; Bäck, Henry (2008). Governing and Governance in Sweden. Lund: Studentlitteratur AB. ISBN 978-91-44-03682-3.
    • Petersson, Olof (2010). Den offentliga makten (in Swedish). Stockholm: SNS Förlag. ISBN 978-91-86203-66-5.

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