Photo: Johan Gustafsson/Sveriges Radio

Proposed reform makes it easier to fire politicians

It may become easier to remove local government commissioners in the future, if a proposal submitted to the government is approved. There are currently no clear regulations outlined in Sweden's Local Government Act for how to replace municipal boards at times of political crises, and that has lead to complications in several municipalities, Swedish Radio News reports.

Administration expert Henry Bäck believes there is a gap in the law that must be addressed.

"I believe it would be a reasonable reform if the Local Government Act were to outline how the ruling coalition or the ruling party reaches that position, how to act when conditions change and you get a government crisis. In other words, how to remove the old government and appoint a new one," Bäck tells Swedish Radio News.

Bäck is a retired professor in public administration, an expert in municipal politics and a Left Party member. He also lives in Skinnskatteberg, central Sweden, where there was a political storm during the last term of office.

The government alliance parties lost the majority in the representative assembly as well as the power over the budget when a local party switched sides. However, the new majority did not have the right, under the Local Government Act, to remove the old municipal board.

Liberal Party local government commissioner Carina Sándor remained in her position during the stormy period and many citizens supported her.

"Had it not been for the demonstration and several emails and phone calls, I don't think we would have continued to fight. But we realised pretty soon that governing according to someone else's politics is perhaps not the best situation to be in," Sándor tells Swedish Radio News.

There have been similar situations in other municipalities, too. When an inquiry into local democracy reviewed the Local Government Act, the conclusion was clear: A new rule is needed to enable the representative assembly to remove boards and committees.

The government supported such a proposal earlier this year and the Social Democrat Lars Andersson, who eventually got to replace Carina Sándor as local government commissioner, hopes for a change to the law.

"I think it is completely unreasonable for a party or a minority party group to govern a majority party's budget. If you have received public support for a budget you must also have the chance to govern it," says Andersson.

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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