I realized that I have less than 100 days to gain the understanding of the Swedish system that I wanted to share when I began the blog last July. Many days I think I am no closer than when we first moved here. I haven’t yet looked very deeply into the government of Sweden and while that probably won’t shed too much light on my goal, it probably can’t hurt either.
Sweden was the first country in the world to adopt a parliamentary system of government, back in the early 1700s. It lasted for half a century until the king pulled a coup d’etat and restored the monarchy. In the early 1900s parliament was restored for good and in 1973 the monarchy was taken out of the picture for good and now serves mainly a PR function. There are many people who want to do away with the royal family entirely but that is a post for another day.
There is much I don’t know about parliamentary forms of government. Being American, I was vaguely aware of governments being dissolved and prime ministers being forced to resign after votes of no confidence, but was basically ignorant of other forms of government besides what we have in the U.S.
At any rate, here in Sweden, the voters elect the legislature and the legislature elects the prime minister who heads the government and who appoints the various ministers in his cabinet. Here is a list of ministers in the Swedish government as ripped from Wikipedia:
- Prime Minister’s Office (Swedish: Statsrådsberedningen)
- Ministry of Justice (Swedish: Justitiedepartementet)
- Ministry for Foreign Affairs (Swedish: Utrikesdepartementet)
- Ministry of Defence (Swedish: Försvarsdepartementet)
- Ministry of Health and Social Affairs (Swedish: Socialdepartementet)
- Ministry of Finance (Swedish: Finansdepartementet)
- Ministry of Education and Research (Swedish: Utbildningsdepartementet)
- Ministry for Rural Affairs (Swedish: Jordbruksdepartementet)
- Ministry of the Environment (Swedish: Miljödepartementet)
- Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications (Swedish: Näringsdepartementet)
- Ministry of Integration and Gender Equality (Swedish: Integrations- och jämställdhetsdepartementet)
- Ministry of Culture (Swedish: Kulturdepartementet)
- Ministry of Employment (Swedish: Arbetsmarknadsdepartementet)
Perusing the list gives some insight into what Swedes think needs to be looked after. Gender Equality? Integration?
Within these ministries there are other ministries such as Elderly and Children Welfare, IT and Environment and Migration and Asylum Policy. For a time Sweden granted asylum for anyone from Iraq who could make it to Sweden and Sweden took in many, many more displaced Iraqis than did the U.S. One summer we noticed that the people working in the kiosks around town were mostly Iraqi when the summer before they were all Swedes.
Apparently it is much easier for a parliamentary form of government to enact legislation because the Executive is elected by the legislature (called the Riksdag here) which means that the Executive and party or coalition in the majority are closely intertwined. Very different from the situation with a Democratic President and Republican House where nothing gets done.
Enough of this. I will get into the different political parties one day but spring is coming as these pictures shot in between this week’s rainy days show.
No more beautiful sporting arena than a golf course. Very pleasant to be able to walk it without the frustration of looking for a ball in the rough. Though she is often in the rough or out of bounds herself, Bianca is easier to spot because she is moving all the time.
These are the first actual new leaves I have spotted. I have actually gotten used to the trees being bare. You can see a lot further into the distance at this time of year. That is going to change soon.