Democracy is about the equal value and rights of all people. In a democracy everyone has the opportunity to exercise political influence. The rights and freedoms enjoyed by Sweden's citizens are set out in the written Constitution. The Constitution states that all public power proceeds from the people and that the Riksdag is the foremost representative of the people. As such, the Riksdag is a crucial component of Swedish democracy. Parliamentary elections are held every four years, when the citizens of Sweden choose 349 members of the Riksdag. They are to represent the Swedish people and their task is to ensure that the people's will permeates all decisions taken by the Riksdag. Anyone wishing to stand for election must be entitled to vote in the parliamentary election and be nominated by a political party. Parliamentary elections are held every four years. Photo: Melker Dahlstrand Decisions that affect everyone The Riksdag takes decisions that affect the whole of society. In its everyday tasks it interacts closely with a number of other public actors including the Government, public agencies, municipalities, county councils and the EU. The work of the Riksdag is, of course, influenced by its history. Universal franchise, the transition to a unicameral (single chamber) system and four-year electoral periods are examples of important developments in the history of the Riksdag. The King is the Head of State The highest individual representative of a country is known as its head of state. In Sweden, this position is held by the King, or by a ruling Queen. He or she has no political power; the duties of the Head of State are only of a representative nature. As Head of State, the King is responsible for opening the new parliamentary session each autumn. He also chairs the Advisory Committee on Foreign Affairs.