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The King: should he stay or should he go?

Published fredag 29 april 2016 kl 10.20
Sara Skyttedal and Magnus Simonsson debate the future of the monarchy
(8:59 min)
Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf. Photo: Christine Olsson / TT.
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Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf. Photo: Christine Olsson / TT
With the Swedish King's 70th birthday coming up, Magnus Simonsson, secretary general of the Republican Association, and Sara Skyttedal, the chair of the Young Christian Democrats, debate about whether the monarchy is still relevant. Photo: Brett Ascarelli / Radio Sweden.
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With the Swedish King's 70th birthday coming up, Magnus Simonsson, secretary general of the Republican Association, and Sara Skyttedal, chair of the Young Christian Democrats, debate whether the monarchy is still relevant. Photo: Brett Ascarelli / Radio Sweden

As Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf turns 70, a royalist and a republican go head-to-head in a Radio Sweden debate about the future of the monarchy.

The King, who is Sweden’s head of state, has been on the throne since 1973 and Magnus Simonsson, secretary general of the Republican Association, said it is high time Sweden abolishes its monarchy. It is no longer a relevant institution, Simonsson suggested.

“Most Swedes don’t care much about the royal family so I guess the majority of people won’t be watching the celebrations this weekend,” Simonsson said referring to recent polls about Swedes’ attitudes towards the monarchy.

Simonsson said that “as a modern, democratic country, we should be represented by people whom we elect and not by people who inherit their power”.

However, Sara Skyttedal, head of the Christian Democrat Party’s youth wing, disagreed, saying: “I find it amusing that Republicans seem to believe Sweden is not really a democracy because of our constitutional monarchy. That is absurd. Rather, the monarchy is a crucial part of our modern society. Of course, real power should be elected by the people but there are limits to the part that politics can play in society.”

Skyttedal suggested that the monarchy is a unifying and positive force and said that the royal family acts “as a big PR agency for Sweden”.

Major celebrations are planned in Sweden for the King’s birthday, which coincides with Walpurgis, when Swedes gather around big bonfires, arrange firework displays and sing songs to welcome spring.

On Saturday, the capital, Stockholm, will see concerts, receptions, a cortege, a 21-gun salute, and a banquet to celebrate the king turning 70.

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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