All the parties that are currently in the Swedish parliament, as well as some fringe parties, are represented near Sergels torg, a major square at the heart of Stockholm’s city centre. Here, thousands of shoppers and commuters pass by the traditional cabins, or valstugor, every day.
Party representatives hand out leaflets, answer questions from the public and try and win over undecided voters.
“It’s mainly students and teachers who come by our cabin and they usually have very specific questions,” Gabriella, a Social Democrat Party volunteer, told Radio Sweden. “Younger voters want to find out about our views on the school system and on education in general.”
Henrik, a member of the conservative Moderate Party, volunteers at the election cabins ahead of every election. “I think it’s important to be part of it, to try and get more people to vote….We narrow the gap between politicians and citizens by meeting people out here, asking them what they want, defending what we are doing and talking about what kind of Sweden we want to see in the future.”
Over at the Sweden Democrat Party cabin, party representative Christoffer Dulny said: “Basically people want to know how we describe ourselves because they’ve read about us in the media… So, it’s just ‘who are you and what do you stand for?’”
First-time voter Ellie, 18, suffers from asthma and came to Sergels torg to find out about the parties’ policies on smoking and tobacco. “Since it’s not a big question for a lot of people, there weren’t many here who could give me clear answers as to what their parties are fighting for when it comes to tobacco and smoking,” Ellie told Radio Sweden.
“I’m excited about voting but I’m very nervous, too. This is such an important question for me and until I get a clear answer I don’t know if I’ll be able to decide, but I’ll try,” said Ellie.
While there are several days left until Swedes go to the polls in the general election – and early voting opened last week - some members of the public passing by Sergels torg had already decided whom to vote for. One, Fredrik, 27, is a Stockholm-based photographer who came to the square with his mother. She wanted to speak directly to representatives at the election cabins rather than inform herself via the media, Fredrik explained.
“She’s not so interested in politics but she came here to form an opinion so she can know whom to vote for,” said Fredrik. “We have been asking the representatives about taxes, schools, immigration and the issues that are most important to her.”
As for Fredrik himself, he goes online to inform himself and he follows the party leader interviews on radio and television. “You get to know the leaders and see how well they represent their parties. I think they’re very important, especially for people who are undecided,” Fredrik said.