Friday, January 22, 2010

A Democratic deficit in Sweden

I mentioned in the last post that the Swedish Social Democrats were in power 85% of the time between 1932-2010. Sweden is a Social Democratic country. What few people realize is however that the complete dominance in power for the left was achieved with just a bare majority of the votes.

Between 1932-2010, the Social Democrats received on average 44.3% of the vote. Looking at the two block-vote (and excluding "other" parties outside parliament) the Social Democrats and their allies on the left received on average 52% of the two-block share, and the right of center parties an average of 48%.

In three election, in 1956, 1958 and 1973 the right of center block actually received more votes than the leftist block, but lost the election due to various technical reasons. While the fact that Al Gore won the popular vote has been covered extensively by the Swedish media, this historical fact about our own country is unknown by most Swedes.

In sum a sizable share of the Swedish public consistently opposed Social Democratic dominance, but with little electoral luck, and little influence, due to the "winner takes all" nature of the system.

52% of the vote and 85% of power is a pretty good deal, if you can get it.

Many Swedes consider the American system strange and undemocratic, but in my view this parliamentarian system where 50.1% of the vote gives you almost 100% of the power is in many ways less democratic than the American system that contains power sharing and protection of minority rights.


  1. Your data are rather misleading here, since the governments formed after the 1956, 1958, and 1973 elections were coalitions that got a majority of the vote (though not including the greens and the left party).

    In any case, what do you propose instead? That the percentages of the vote determine proportionate periods of time of rule? It does not work like that anywhere, and nor should it.

  2. It makes sense! But our biggest democratic problem is the CENSORSHIP in this country! Furthermore the media isnt scrutinising the establishment as theyre supposed to. Theyre the instruments of the establishment.

    If ure anti-immigration och anti-islam u can rest assure ull be censored. We´ve seen some improvement since the election in 2010, but its still bad.

    If we have freedom of expression theres true hope for change.

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