The Basic Laws of Sweden (Swedish : Sveriges grundlagar) are the four constitutional laws of the Kingdom of Sweden that regulate the Swedish political system, acting in a similar manner to the constitutions of most countries.
These fours laws are: the Instrument of Government (Swedish : Regeringsformen), the Freedom of the Press Act (Swedish : Tryckfrihetsförordningen), the Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression (Swedish : Yttrandefrihetsgrundlagen) and the Act of Succession (Swedish : Successionsordningen). Together, they constitute a basic framework that stands above other laws and regulation, and also define which agreements are themselves above normal Swedish law.
The Parliament Act (Swedish : Riksdagsordningen) is usually considered to be halfway between a fundamental law and a normal law, with certain main chapters afforded similar protections as the fundamental laws while other additional chapters require only a simple parliamentary majority.
To amend or to revise a fundamental law, the Riksdag needs to approve the changes twice in two successive terms with qualified majorities, with a general election having been held in between. The first vote can be replaced with a referendum.
The most important of the fundamental laws is the Instrument of Government (Swedish : Regeringsformen, RF). It sets out the basic principles for political life in Sweden defining rights and freedoms.
The 1974 Instrument of Government grants the power to commission a prime minister to the Riksdag, at the nomination of the Speaker of the Riksdag, who following a vote in the Riksdag signs the letter of commission on behalf of the Riksdag. The prime minister is appointed when the majority of the Riksdag does not vote against the nominee, thus making it possible to form minority governments. The prime minister appoints members of the government, including heads of ministries. The government collectively decides on issues after hearing the report of the head of the ministry concerned. At least five members of the government need to be present for a decisional quorum to be made. In practice, reports are written and discussions very rare during formal cabinet meetings.
Constitutional functions for the head of state, i.e. the monarch, include heading the cabinet councils (the king plus the members of the government), heading the Council on Foreign Affairs, recognizing new cabinets (in the Council of State), and opening the annual session of the Riksdag. The monarch is to be continuously briefed on governmental issues—in the Council of State or directly by the prime minister.
The first constitutional Instrument of Government was enacted in 1719, marking the transition from autocracy to parliamentarism. Sweden's bloodless coup d'état of 1772 was legitimized by the Riksdag of the Estates in new versions of the Instrument of Government, Swedish Constitution of 1772 and the Union and Security Act from 1789, making the king a "constitutional autocrat". When the ancient Swedish land in 1809 was split into two parts, and the Grand Duchy of Finland was created as an autonomous part of the Russian Empire, this constitutional autocracy was not formally abolished or replaced. Finland gained independence as a republic in 1917, and its parliament used the Swedish Constitution of 1772 as legal basis to operate until the country adopted its new constitution in 1919.
In Sweden, the loss of virtually half the realm led to another bloodless revolution, a new royal dynasty, and the Instrument of Government of 6 June 1809 (as well as a new Freedom of Press Act and Act of Succession). The new Instrument of Government established a separation of powers between the executive branch (the king) and the legislative branch (the Riksdag of the Estates) and gave the king and the Riksdag of the Estates joint power over legislation, with the king still playing a central role in government but no longer independently of the Privy Council. The king was free to choose councillors, but was bound to decide on governmental matters only in presence of the Privy Council, or a subset thereof, and after report of the councillor responsible for the matter in question. The councillor had to countersign a royal decision, unless it was unconstitutional, whereby it gained legal force. The councillor was legally responsible for his advice and was obliged to note his dissension in case he did not agree with the king's decision. This constitution put a considerable de jure power in the king, but which was increasingly followed the councillors' advice. From 1917, the king adhered to principles of parliamentarism by choosing councillors possessing direct or indirect support from a majority of the Riksdag.
After over fifty years of de facto parliamentarism,[ further explanation needed ] it was written into the Instrument of Government of 1974, which, although technically adherent to constitutional monarchy, created the Government of Sweden in its present constitutional form.
This section needs expansionwith: Privacy protections; effects on judicial review, elections, and municipalities. You can help by adding to it. (November 2012)
In 2009, the Riksdag approved Proposition 2009/10:80, "A Reformed Constitution" (Swedish : En reformerad grundlag), making substantial amendments to the Instrument of Government, and related acts.
The amendment modernized and simplified the text in general, and strengthened several fundamental rights and freedoms. Protection against unfair discrimination was extended to include discrimination based on sexual orientation. The amendment affirmed the responsibility of public authorities to protect children's rights, and to promote the preservation and development of ethnic minorities' culture and language, making special mention of the Sami people. It also strengthens judicial powers to make it easier to determine whether new laws contravene the constitution or the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
These amendments took effect on 1 January 2011.
The other two acts define the freedom of the press and other forms of expression. They are separated into two separate laws mainly to maintain the tradition of the Freedom of the Press Act from 1766, largely the work of proto-Liberal Cap Party politician Anders Chydenius, which abolished censorship and restricted limitations to retroactive legal measures for criticism of the Lutheran state church and the royal house exclusively.
The Freedom of the Press Act (Swedish : Tryckfrihetsförordningen, TF) was changed several times since its first incarnation; following Gustav III's coup d'etat in 1772, the Act was amended in order to curtail freedom of the press, but restored in 1810 following the overthrow of his son, and later amended to ensure this fact in 1812, 1949 and 1982. The option to revoke publishing licenses was retained until the late rule of Charles XIV John and used widely against Liberal papers such as Aftonbladet , which saw its license revoked ten times in 1838 alone. Publisher Lars Johan Hierta solved this by adding a different numeral to the name Aftonbladet, thus publishing a formally different newspaper. The right to revoke was finally abolished in 1844. The 1766 Act held for example that freedom of expression was to be uninhibited, except for "violations", which included blasphemy and criticism of the state.
The Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression (Swedish : Yttrandefrihetsgrundlagen, YGL) of 1991 is a lengthier document defining freedom of expression in all media except for written books and magazines (such as radio, television, the Internet, etc.)
In the 18th century, after over 40 years of mixed experiences with parliamentarism, public access to public documents was one of the main issues with the Freedom of the Press Act of 1766. Although the novelty was put out of order 1772–1809, it has since remained central in the Swedish mindset, seen as a forceful means against corruption and government agencies' unequal treatment of the citizens, increasing the perceived legitimacy of (local and central) government and politicians. The Principle of Public Access (Swedish : Offentlighetsprincipen), as the collection of rules are commonly referred to, provides that all information and documents created or received by a "public authority" (local or central government, and all publicly operated establishments) must be available to all members of the public. It also states that all public authorities must provide information promptly (skyndsamt) upon request.
Exemptions from the right to access to public documents are defined in the Public Access to Information and Secrecy Act (Offentlighets- och sekretesslagen)which succeeded the Secrecy Act (Sekretesslagen) in 2009. The act details which information government agencies can keep secret, under what circumstances, and towards whom. According to the Chapter 2, Article 2 of the Freedom of the Press Act: "The right of access to official documents may be restricted only if restriction is necessary having regard to
This list is exhaustive and the Parliament may not legislate about restrictions outside the scope of this list, and any restrictions have to be legislated into the Public Access to Information and Secrecy Act previously mentioned.
Secrecy is limited to a maximum time of 70 years (when relating to individuals that is 70 years after the person's death).
Sweden's switch from elective to hereditary monarchy in 1544 gave reason to Sweden's first law of constitutional character, in form of a treaty between the royal dynasty and the realm represented by the four Estates to be valid for all times.
Accordingly, the current 1810 Act of Succession (Swedish : Successionsordningen, SO) is a treaty between the old Riksdag of the Estates and the House of Bernadotte regulating the right to accede to the Swedish throne. In 1980, the old principle of agnatic primogeniture, which meant that the throne was inherited by the eldest male child of the preceding monarch, was replaced by the principle of absolute primogeniture. This meant that the throne will be inherited by the eldest child without regard to sex. Thereby Princess Victoria, the eldest child of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, was created heiress apparent to the Swedish throne over her younger brother, until then Crown Prince Carl Philip.
In 1593, after 70 years of Reformation and Counter-Reformation in Sweden, adherence to the Augsburg confession was decided and given constitutional status at the Synod of Uppsala (Swedish : Uppsala möte). References to Uppsala Synod have since then been worked into the fundamental laws, notably the Act of Succession.
In 1999, the Church was separated from the state and became an independent organization, but the ruling body of the church is still decided by public voting (among members of the church), and mostly consists of the political parties. The Church of Sweden is often classified as a semi-state church. This because of its formal separation from the state but its lasting ties with official Sweden, most notably the Riksdag and the monarch. The Church of Sweden is also the only religious organization regulated by its own law, the Church of Sweden Act, which stipulates that the Church of Sweden has to be a democratic, Lutheran, Folk church. As a result of the separation, people born in Sweden where the parents are members of the Church of Sweden since 1999 no longer become members of the church automatically at birth.
Amendments of the fundamental laws must be adopted twice by the Riksdag with a simple majority of the votes cast, with intervening elections. Within 15 days of an amendment's first enactment, at least one-tenth of all MPs may bring a motion for a referendum which must be supported by at least one-third of all MPs. The referendum is held simultaneously with Riksdag elections and the amendment is deemed rejected if a simple majority of voters reject it, provided the majority is a majority of all valid votes. If the people do not dismiss a change, it still has to be ratified by the newly elected Riksdag. Such a referendum has never been used.
A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation or other type of entity and commonly determine how that entity is to be governed.
The Constitution of Japan is the constitution of Japan and the supreme law in the state. Written primarily by American civilian officials working under the Allied Occupation of Japan, the constitution replaced the Meiji Constitution of 1890 when it came into effect on 3 May 1947.
The politics of Sweden take place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic constitutional monarchy. Executive power is exercised by the government, led by the Prime Minister of Sweden. Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament, elected within a multi-party system. The Judiciary is independent, appointed by the government and employed until retirement. Sweden is formally a monarchy with a monarch holding symbolic power.
The Riksdag is the national legislature and the supreme decision-making body of Sweden. Since 1971, the Riksdag has been a unicameral legislature with 349 members, elected proportionally and serving, from 1994 onwards, on fixed four-year terms.
The Council of the Realm, or simply The Council, was a cabinet of medieval origin, consisting of magnates which advised, and at times co-ruled with, the King of Sweden.
The prime minister is the head of government in Sweden. Before the creation of the office of a prime minister in 1876, Sweden did not have a head of government separate from its head of state, namely the king, in whom the executive authority was vested. Louis Gerhard De Geer, the architect behind the new bicameral Riksdag of 1866 that replaced the centuries-old Riksdag of the Estates, became the first officeholder in 1876.
The 1810 Act of Succession is one of four Fundamental Laws of the Realm and thus forms part of the Swedish Constitution. The Act regulates the line of succession to the Swedish throne and the conditions which eligible members of the Swedish Royal Family must abide by in order to remain in it.
The Instrument of Government adopted on 6 June 1809 by the Riksdag of the Estates and King Charles XIII was one of the fundamental laws that made up the constitution of Sweden from 1809 to the end of 1974. The law came about after the Coup of 1809, when the disastrous outcome in the Finnish War led Swedish nobles and parts of the Army to revolt, forcing King Gustav IV Adolf to involuntarily abdicate and go into exile. It was thus the constitution which saw Sweden transition from an absolute monarchy of the Gustavian era into a stable, constitutional democracy adhering to the rule of law and significant civil liberties.
A constitutional convention is an informal and uncodified procedural agreement that is followed by the institutions of a state. In some states, notably those Commonwealth of Nations states that follow the Westminster system and whose political systems derive from British constitutional law, most government functions are guided by constitutional convention rather than by a formal written constitution. In these states, actual distribution of power may be markedly different from those the formal constitutional documents describe. In particular, the formal constitution often confers wide discretionary powers on the head of state that, in practice, are used only on the advice of the head of government, and in some cases not at all.
A constitutional amendment is a modification of the constitution of a polity, organization or other type of entity. Amendments are often interwoven into the relevant sections of an existing constitution, directly altering the text. Conversely, they can be appended to the constitution as supplemental additions, thus changing the frame of government without altering the existing text of the document.
The Spanish Constitution is the democratic law that is supreme in the Kingdom of Spain. It was enacted after its approval in a constitutional referendum, and it is the culmination of the Spanish transition to democracy. The Constitution of 1978 is one of about a dozen of other historical Spanish constitutions and constitution-like documents; however, it is one of two fully democratic constitutions. It was sanctioned by King Juan Carlos I on 27 December, and published in the Boletín Oficial del Estado on 29 December, the date in which it became effective. The promulgation of the constitution marked the culmination of the Spanish transition to democracy after the death of general Francisco Franco, on 20 November 1975, who ruled over Spain as a military dictator for nearly 40 years. This led to the country undergoing a series of political, social and historical changes that transformed the Francoist regime into a democratic state.
The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is the controlling government document of Puerto Rico. It is composed of nine articles detailing the structure of the government as well as the function of several of its institutions. The document also contains an extensive and specific bill of rights. It was ratified by Puerto Rico's electorate in a referendum on March 3, 1952, and on July 25, 1952, Governor Luis Muñoz Marín proclaimed that the constitution was in effect. July 25 is known as Constitution Day.
An entrenched clause or entrenchment clause of a basic law or constitution is a provision that makes certain amendments either more difficult or impossible to pass, making such amendments invalid. Overriding an entrenched clause may require a supermajority, a referendum, or the consent of the minority party. The term eternity clause is used in a similar manner in the constitutions of Brazil, the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, India, Iran, Italy, Morocco, Norway, and Turkey, but specifically applies to an entrenched clause that can never be overridden. The Constitution of Colombia contains similar provisions aimed at making it difficult, but not impossible, to change their basic structure.
Sweden's Constitution of 1772 took effect through a bloodless coup d'état, the Revolution of 1772, carried out by Gustav III, who had become king in 1771. It established once again a division of power between the parliament and the king. The period came to be known as the Gustavian era. This was a response to a perceived harm wrought upon Sweden by a half-century of parliamentarism during the country's Age of Liberty practiced according to the Instrument of Government (1719), as many members of the Swedish parliament then used to be bribed by foreign powers.
The Constitutional Act of the Realm of Denmark, also known as the Constitutional Act of the Kingdom of Denmark, or simply the Constitution, is the constitution of the Kingdom of Denmark, applying equally in the Realm of Denmark: Denmark proper, Greenland and the Faroe Islands. The first constitution was adopted in 1849, and the current constitution is from 1953. It is one of the oldest constitutions in the world. The Constitutional Act has been changed a few times. The wording is general enough to still apply today.
Parliamentary Ombudsman is the name of the principal ombudsman institutions in Finland, in Iceland, in Denmark, in Norway, and in Sweden. In each case, the terms refer both to the Office of the Parliamentary Ombudsman and to an individual Ombudsman.
The Government of the Kingdom of Sweden is a parliamentary democracy, and the executive authority of Sweden.
Human rights in Sweden are largely protected in their Constitution and ratified international law. The three Constitutional acts concerning human rights are Chapter 2 of the Instrument of Government, Regeringsformen, the Freedom of the Press Act, Tryckfrihetsförordningen (1949) and Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression, Yttrandefrihetsgrundlagen (1991). Additionally, the European Convention on Human Rights has been incorporated into Swedish domestic law since 1995.
The FreedomofthePressAct is one of four Fundamental Laws of the Realm and thus forms part of the Swedish Constitution. The Act regulates matters regarding freedom of press and principle of public access to official records. The Freedom of the Press Act as well as the Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression is one of the two "basic media acts" in Sweden. The Freedom of the Press Act is derived from the Freedom of the Press Act of 1766; the legislation is regarded as the world's first law supporting the freedom of the press and freedom of information. In its first version, it brought freedom of the press in Sweden - then under the Holstein-Gottorp monarchy - to a level then only rivaled by the liberal Dutch republic and the United Kingdom of the Bill of Rights of 1689.
The Committee on the Constitution (KU) is a parliamentary committee in the Swedish Riksdag. The committee's responsibilities include examining issues relating to the Swedish Constitution and Administrative laws, as well as examining the Prime Minister's performance of duties and the handling of government matters. The committee's activities are regulated by the Riksdag.
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