What’s the thing with Swedish elections & people love them?

September 2018. Election day in Sweden. Almost 9 out of 10 eligible voters turned out in the voting stations to cast their vote. For the Swedes, elections are not a hassle nor a boring errand. They love them. Turnout is really high and even though sometimes, no government can be formed immediately after the elections (like last year), everything in the country runs smoothly.

Democracy is much appreciated in the country and people are happy to be members of political parties or take part in heated debates. It is about their own country after all. But how can this particular love for democratic procedures be explained?

All are welcome!
Swedes are known for their inclusivity in everything. This inclusivity has to do with equality too. Everybody is equal and has the same rights. Everybody has the right to participate in public politics and even scrutinise how politicians and public services exercise their power. This is written in their constitution.It does not matter if you are young or old, male or female, local or foreigner, educated or not. Everybody is expected to contribute his/her own merit to how the country is governed. Women are especially appreciated and they lead almost half of the ministries in any given government, including the crucial ones like foreign policy and finance.

Foreigners can also vote in regional and local elections. No prerequisites if they come from the EU or the EEA. In any other case, only one condition, to be registered in Sweden for 3 years or more, has to be met. After all, the cities and regions must take care of all their residents, regardless of nationality or citizenship.

School pupils vote too!
Well, not in the same “adult” elections. They have their own elections, the skolval. But they are real. With the same political parties that take part in the national elections. This is an opportunity for youngsters to get to know about how democracy works. Often, reps from the parties are invited in schools to present what their parties stand for.Voting closes, results are in. Surprisingly, the skolval results are very similar to the national elections ones. Parties get more or less the same percentage of votes. Of course, the youngsters’votes are not counted in the national elections outcome. But still, young people get prepared for their responsible adult life.

Still wonder why Swedes love elections? Being inclusive and giving everybody the right to contribute to democracy are the reasons why. Show me the ballot!