Photo: Melker Dahlstrand/Riksdagsförvaltningen
Political parties in Sweden
The Swedish parliament is made up of 349 political representatives, currently from eight different parties. Get some insight into the biggest political parties in Sweden below.
#1 Social Democrats
Party leader: Stefan Löfven, also Prime Minister of Sweden
The Social Democratic Party – a labour party at its core – was founded in 1889, which makes it the oldest political party in Sweden. Party leader since 2012 is Stefan Löfven, and he is also Prime Minister of Sweden. The policies of the Social Democrats are based on freedom, equality and solidarity, and the party prioritises creating more jobs and providing a better education for all.
The Social Democrats had a fairly dominant position in Swedish politics between the 1930s and the 1980s, and is still Sweden’s largest political party. Since 2014 the Social Democratic Party has been in government together with the Green Party.
Read more about the Social Democratic Party.
#2 New Moderates
Party leader: Ulf Kristersson
The Moderate Party started out as a conservative and nationalist party, and was first founded in 1904. Today the party defines its ideology as liberal–conservative. This means that the Moderates is a conservative party with liberal ideas. The individual’s freedom to choose is central to its policies. The Moderates also generally supports reduced taxes and economic liberalism.
From 2006 to 2014 the Moderates were in government together with the Centre Party, the Liberals and the Christian Democrats, commonly referred to as the Alliance parties. At the 2014 and 2018 elections, the Moderates was the second largest party in Sweden.
Read more about the Moderate Party.
#3 Sweden Democrats
Party leader: Jimmie Åkesson
The Sweden Democrats, founded in 1988, is a social conservative party based on nationalism. The party is first and foremost associated with the issue of migration. The Sweden Democrats believes that Sweden’s immigration policy has been too generous, that the many migrants coming to Sweden have put huge social and economic strains on the country. The party’s policies are based on protecting the ‘national identity’ as a way of sustaining the Swedish welfare state.
In the 2010 election the party gained seats in parliament for the first time, with 5.7 per cent of the votes. At the 2018 election, the Sweden Democrats gained 17.5 per cent of the votes.
Read more about the Sweden Democrats.
Debate between party leaders in the Swedish parliament.
Photo: Melker Dahlstrand/Riksdagsförvaltningen
#4 Centre Party
Party leader: Annie Lööf
The Centre Party is a liberal and agriculture political party founded in 1913, then called the Farmers’ League. The party believes that society should be built on people’s responsibility for each other and nature. The Centre Party focuses on national economy, the environment and integration.
At the 2014 election the Centre Party got 8.6 per cent of the votes.
Read more about the Centre Party.
#5 Left Party
Party leader: Jonas Sjöstedt
The Left Party’s defines itself as a socialist and feminist political party on an ecological basis. It has been called ‘the Left Party’ since 1990, but the first foundations of the party were laid already in 1917. Its focus areas are jobs, welfare services and gender equality. The party was against Sweden joining the EU in 1995 and still advocates an exit.
At the 2018 election the Left Party got about 8 per cent of the votes, making it Sweden’s fifth largest party.
Read more about the Left Party.
#6 Christian Democrats
Party leader: Ebba Busch Thor
The Christian Democratic Party was founded in 1964 and was voted into parliament in 1991. The party believes that stable families should form the basis of society. The four main issues that the Christian Democrats focuses on are: improving elderly care, giving families with children the freedom to select their own childcare, simplifying regulations for companies and lowering taxes as a means to promote growth and combat unemployment.
At the 2018 election the Christian democrats got 6.3 per cent of the votes.
Read more about the Christian Democratic Party.
Party leader: Nyamko Sabuni
The Liberals was founded in 1934 as the People’s Party. In 2015 the party changed its name to ‘the Liberals’. It’s a liberal and social–liberal political party, meaning liberalism based on respect for the individual. The party has always claimed a middle position in the political landscape but is considered to have become more conservative over the last few years. Improving the school system is a key issue for the party, but it also wants to join NATO and invest in nuclear power.
At the 2014 and 2018 elections the Liberals was the seventh largest party in Sweden, with 5.5 per cent of the votes.
Read more about the Liberals.
#8 Green Party
Spokespersons: Per Bolund
The Green Party has a clear focus on environmental issues. The party was founded in 1981 and had its breakthrough in 1988, when it won seats in parliament for the first time. Instead of a party leader, the Green Party has two spokespersons, always one man and one woman. The party focuses on stopping climate change and protecting the environment, fighting nuclear power and promoting European integration.
Since the 2014 election the Green Party has been in government together with the Social Democrats. It was the sixth largest party in Sweden at the 2018 election.
Read more about the Green Party.
The parliament and the 4-per cent rule
A party must receive at least 4 per cent of the votes in an election to be assigned a seat in the Swedish parliament.
Parties below the 4-per cent threshold:
Feminist Initiative (FI)
– Founded in 2005.
– Policies based on: equal rights regardless of sex, age, disability, sexual orientation or skin colour/ethnic background.
– Got 0.46 per cent in 2018, and 3.12 per cent of the votes in 2014.
Read more about the Feminist Initiative.
Alternative for Sweden
– Founded in 2017.
– Policies based on: immigration issues, democracy and politicians, and law and order.
– Got 0.31 per cent in 2018.
Read more about Alternative for Sweden.
– Founded in 2006.
– Politics based on: freedom from oppression and censorship.
– Got 0.11 per cent of the votes in 2018, and 0.43 per cent in 2014.
Read more about the Pirate Party.
Last updated: 26 February 2019