This section presents information on Nordic politics, such as interviews with Nordic politicians and other useful information on Nordic politics that has been translated to English. This data provides (1) information on the 2011 volume The Madisonian Turn, (2) a recently completed research project about Swedish constitutional reforms (and its other publications) and (3) a chronological account of how the Swedish electoral law has changed since World War II.
The Madisonian Turn
Parliamentary democracy is the most common regime type in the contemporary political world, but its the quality of governance depends on effective parliamentary oversight and strong political parties. The Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden have traditionally been strong examplesa stronghold of parliamentary democracy. This culturally coherent region has been characterized by a combination of centralized and cohesive political parties and with parliaments capable of controlling the policy process. In recent years, however, some observers have asked whether it is still true that the Nordic states have strong political parties and parliaments. Critics have argued that new challenges such as weakened popular attachment, the advent of cartel parties, the judicialization of politics, and the democratic deficits of European integration have , in fact, weakened the institutions of parliamentary democracy in the Nordic region.
The Madisonian Turn (2011) examines these claims and their implications for the Nordic countries. It investigates the current state of Nordic parliamentary democracy with the help of comparative data collected by the contributors. The authors find that the Nordic states have moved away from their previous resemblance ofto a Westminster model with consensual traits, towards a form of parliamentary democracy with more separation-of-powers features – a Madisonian model. These features are evident both in vertical power relations, for example relations with the European Union and with sub-national levels of government, and horizontal ones, as reflected in increasingly independent courts and central banks. However, these developments are far from uniform. Whereas Norway and Sweden have moved notably away from the classic features of parliamentary democracy, Finland has shifted in the opposite direction. Denmark exhibits less change, while the Icelandic party system now is now more unstable than ever. These developments help increase our understanding of five diverse countries that have long been considered bastions of democracy and welfare. The book also shows that there may be different responses to the political challenges faced by contemporary western democracies.
Constitutional Reform 2010
In agreement with all the opposition parties, the current majority government has submitted a proposal for constitutional reform to the parliament for approval before and – again – after the election in 2010.
The central idea of this research project has been to depart from the customary tradition of conducting research on constitutional reforms years after reforms are debated, approved and implemented. Such an approach relies heavily on archives and the memories of still-available participants in an effort to reconstruct the bargaining and the logic. By contrast, this project studies the making of constitutional reform as they take place. By following what happens in real time, studying important events closely, and by paying close attention to what is taking place inside parties, this research will not only enrich our understanding of constitutional change but also on how political parties make difficult choices. In this project, these choices are related to broader developments in Swedish politics and in Nordic Europe.
This project was funded by the Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (P2007-0370:1-E).
The principal investigator is Professor Torbjörn Bergman. The other project members are Magnus Blomgren and David Feltenius at Umeå University. The project also sponsors the books The Madisonian Turn and Parliamentary Roles in Modern Legislatures, as well as a special issue of the journal Statsvetenskaplig tidskrift.
Swedish Electoral Reform
This section contains information on Swedish parliamentary electoral reform, including electoral laws and amendments in force since 1920, as well as constitutional articles concerning parliamentary elections.
The content is structured chronologically by the Elections Act. The Act of 1920 amendments from 1945-1971 are currently available in scanned pdf format, and subsequent amendments from 1972 onwards are available digitally on the Riksdag website. While The Elections Acts of 1997 and 2005 are available in official English translations, but most other content is in Swedish.