Sweden is a democracy, which means that the citizens participate in decisions about how the country should be governed.
Every four years, Sweden holds general elections (also see the Elections section). We then vote for the political party we think should govern our country, our municipalities and our county councils.
The party that gets the most votes also gets the largest number of seats the Swedish Parliament (Riksdag). Several parties may form a government together if they have a majority of the votes.
The members of the parliament decide who will be the prime minister. The prime minister then decides who will be ministers in the government.
Laws that govern Sweden
Sweden has four fundamental (constitutional) laws that describe how the state should function:
- Instrument of Government Act: Deals with how Sweden is governed.
- Act of Succession Governs succession to the Swedish throne, in other words, who will be the king or queen of Sweden. This is the oldest Swedish law still on the books, and was enacted in 1810.
- Freedom of the Press Act: Deals with freedom of the press, the legal right to publicize information, and the right to access public documents. Freedom of the press means you have a right to express your thoughts and ideas in text, free of censorship, provided this does not conflict with any other law. The Right to publicise information means that you have a right to anonymously send information to the media and others, as long as this does not threaten national security and other similar interests. The right to access public documents means that you have the right to read public documents (public documents are documents received or prepared by government agencies), as long as they are not classified as secret.
- Fundamental law on freedom of expression This law deals with the right to express yourself in recordable media, free of censorship. Every citizen has a right to express his or her opinions, thoughts and feelings in recordings for radio and television free of censorship (printed media are governed by the Freedom of the Press Act). There is an exception for films intended to be shown to children below the age of 15 years.