What is up for grabs in 2006?
The people of Sweden go to the polls on the third Sunday of September every fourth year. The election is for all members of parliament, all county councillors, and all municipal councillors.
Sweden is a parliamentary monarchy. Parliament has one chamber with 349 members chosen in a democratic election. Parliament passes laws, sets taxes, and approves the state budget. Parliament also oversees the government and public agencies, and appoints the Prime Minister. It is the Prime Minister who appoints and leads the members of the government.
Sweden is divided into 21 counties and regions. County councils are the highest decision-making body in each county. The council’s most important responsibility is healthcare. County councils are also responsible for issues concerning regional development, such as public transportation.
Sweden is divided into 290 municipalities (and every part of the country is part of some municipality, there is no “unincorporated territory”) which are responsible for local issues such as schools, daycare, welfare, care of the elderly, water, and sanitation. Municipalities are governed by municipal councils.
Sweden is currently governed by a minority Social Democratic government, which is supported in parliament by the Left Party (these two parties are known as the left block) and the Green Party. The center-right opposition consists of four parties: The Conservative Moderates, the Liberals, the Christian Democrats, and the Center.
Fourteen county councils are ruled by the left block, 4 by the center-right block, and 3 by trans-block coalitions.
One hundred eighty municipalities are ruled by the left block, 99 by the center-right block. In 83 municipalities the ruling coalition includes parties from both blocks.