Elections to the Riksdag are held every four years, on the second Sunday in September. This is a chance for the citizens to visit the polling stations to choose the individuals who are to represent them in parliament. All Swedish citizens who have reached the age of 18 by election day and who are or have been registered as resident in Sweden are eligible to vote in parliamentary elections. Elections to the municipal and county council assemblies are held on the same day as the parliamentary elections. There are 349 seats in the Riksdag. The number of seats each party receives should be in proportion to the number of votes the party has received. The main rule is that a particular party must receive at least four per cent of the votes in order to come into the Riksdag. When the polling stations have closed on election day, election workers carry out a preliminary count of the votes cast. This is the result that is presented during the election night specials on TV and radio. The final count is made the following week by the county administrative boards. These counts are open to the general public. During elections to the Riksdag, the citizens choose which people are to represent them in parliament. On the same day, there are also county council and municipal council elections. Yellow ballot papers apply for elections to the Riksdag, white for municipal elections, and blue for country council elections. Photo: Melker Dahlstrand. Who can be elected as a member of the Riksdag Anyone wishing to stand for election must be entitled to vote in the parliamentary election and be nominated by a political party. A member of parliament may also represent a constituency in which he or she does not actually reside. The votes cast in the election are first divided between the parties and then between the candidates of each constituency. There are 29 constituencies in Sweden. These are mainly coterminous with the counties, but the County of Stockholm and the Counties of Skåne and Västra Götaland each comprise a number of constituencies. A normal-sized constituency elects 10–12 Riksdag members. There are great differences between the constituencies. The largest constituency is the County of Stockholm, which had 39 members after the election in 2014. The smallest is the County of Gotland, with two Riksdag members. How the seats are distributed in the Riksdag The Swedish electoral system is a proportional one. This means that the number of seats any one party obtains in the Riksdag is proportional to the number of votes the party received in the election. There are 349 seats in the Riksdag altogether. Once the county administrative boards have counted the votes, the seats should be distributed as fairly as possible among the parties. Threshold rule for small parties Any one particular party must receive at least 4 per cent of the votes to be assigned a seat. This results in there being fewer small parties in the Riksdag. Any party receiving at least 12 per cent of the votes in any one constituency can participate in the allocation of seats in that particular constituency. Seats are distributed in several steps The 349 seats consist of 310 fixed constituency seats and 39 adjustment seats. The number of fixed constituency seats in every constituency is based on the number of people eligible to vote in the constituency. The distribution of these seats reflects the election results in each constituency. The Election Authority allocates the fixed seats among the parties using a method known as the adjusted odd numbers method. In broad terms, the method allows the number of votes for each party to be divided by a series of numbers until all of the 310 seats are allocated. The purpose of the 39 adjustment seats is to make sure that the distribution of seats between the parties over the whole country should be as proportional in relation to the number of votes as possible. The whole country is viewed as it were a single constituency and is then compared with the distribution of votes in the 29 constituencies. The adjustment seats are allocated first according to party and then according to constituency. The members are selected Finally, the seats have to be distributed among the candidates. The parties' lists of candidates are compared with the names the voters have marked. If 5 per cent of those voting for a certain party in any one constituency have marked the same name on the voting slip, this person will be allocated a seat in the Riksdag. If there is more than one name coming up to the 5 per-cent level, the seats are allocated on the basis of the number of personal preference votes. Extraordinary elections The Government may decide to have extraordinary elections to the Riksdag between regular elections. Extraordinary elections should then be held within three months of the decision. Decisions regarding extraordinary elections may not be taken by a caretaker government, that is a government that has resigned but remains in office to carry out routine tasks until a new government has been appointed. If the Riksdag decides that it does not have confidence in the Prime Minister, in other words a declaration of no confidence, the Government must resign or call an extraordinary election. If the Government is then able to call an extraordinary election and does so within a week, the Government will remain in office until the election. Extraordinary elections should also be called if the Riksdag has said "no" four times to the Speaker's proposal for a new Prime Minister after an election. Not instead of ordinary elections Extraordinary elections do not affect the procedure for regular elections. Extraordinary elections may be announced not earlier than three months after a newly elected Riksdag has convened for the first time after an election. An exception is made if the Speaker fails four times in succession to obtain the Riksdag's approval for a proposed Prime Minister. Then, the Speaker has to decide the day the elections are to be held after consultation with the Election Authority. When an extraordinary election has been announced, the Speaker may decide at the request of the Government to call a recess in the work of the Riksdag until a newly elected Riksdag has convened. Unusual in Sweden Extraordinary elections are unusual in Sweden. Since the arrival of a democratic system in the early 20th century, an extraordinary election has been held just once, on 1 June 1958 to the Second Chamber. The main electoral issue at that time was the national supplementary pension.