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Call to let individuals propose laws to Parliament

Published måndag 18 januari 2016 kl 12.40
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(3:36 min)
Riksdagshuset i Stockholm med kungliga slottet till höger. Foto: Fredrik Sandberg/TT
The Swedish Parliament. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Sweden should allow members of the public to propose bills that would be put forward to Parliament, if there is enough public support for them. That proposal comes from democracy investigators who concluded a state-commissioned inquiry.

In an opinion piece in the newspaper Dagens Nyheter, Olle Wästberg, who chaired the inquiry into how to increase and expand engagement in representative democracy, and Daniel Lindvall, who has served as the chief secretary of the project, wrote that individuals should be able to come forward with proposals to Parliament, municipalities and county councils. They suggest that there could be a central website to which people could post motions. If a motion is supported by one percent of the affected voters then it can be put forward to lawmakers for a vote, according to the proposal.

The results of the inquiry are being presented today to the Minister of Culture, Alice Bah Kuhnke (Greens).

Generally, bills are put forward by elected representatives, but some countries, for example, Spain, also give private individuals the opportunity to make such proposals. In Finland, citizens also have the chance to take initiatives to Parliament, if at least 50,000 citizens support the initiative before it goes to committee. This is what happened with a citizen suggestion on same-sex marriage, which was passed by Finland's Parliament in 2014.

In Sweden, the law already includes a provision for "medborgarförslag," which translates in English to "citizen proposals". This allows private individuals to turn in proposals to their municipal or county councils.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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