Democracy means government by the people or people's power. A fundamental idea behind democracy is that the great majority of citizens or residents in a county should have the opportunity to exercise political influence, for example, by means of regular elections.
Another fundamental idea behind democracy is that all human beings are of equal value and should enjoy the same rights. In a democracy, everyone should be free to feel and believe what they want and express their opinions openly in speech or writing.
Democracy can function in different ways
Democracies can function in different ways and the way the democratic system is organised varies from country to country. Most democratic countries have what is known as representative democracy. This means that the citizens choose the politicians who will represent them and run the country in regularly occurring elections.
When the citizens are given the opportunity to help to decide a specific matter, for example, in a referendum, this is known as direct democracy. In Sweden, national referendums have been held, for example, on nuclear energy and membership of the EU. This type of referendum is consultative, and the politicians are not obliged to observe the results.
Elections every four years
The Instrument of Government 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. The Riksdag is the highest decision-making assembly in Sweden. Its tasks include making laws and determining the central government budget. The Riksdag also examines the work of the Government.
Parliamentary elections are held every four years, when the citizens of Sweden choose 349 members of the Riksdag. The members of the Riksdag represent the Swedish people and their task is to ensure that the people's will permeates all decisions taken by the Riksdag. The party or parties with a sufficient number of seats in the Riksdag to obtain support for its/their policies forms/form a government.
Anyone wishing to stand for election must be entitled to vote in parliamentary elections and be nominated by a political party.
The King is head of state but has little power
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 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 Council on Foreign Affairs.
The Riksdag celebrates democracy 2018-2022
The Riksdag is highlighting the advent of democracy in Sweden with democracy centenary celebrations between 2018 and 2022.