A seminar series on current issues related to democracy.

The launch of this series consisted of the SNS Democracy Report 2017: Cooperation and Conflict in a Parliamentary Democracy, presented in September 2017, one year before the 2018 Swedish elections. This initiative was linked to the long history of SNS engaging in well-publicized research on democracy and the political system.

Democracy Council Report 2021: Polarization in Sweden was published in the spring of 2021. This council, chaired by Henrik Ekengren Oskarsson, professor of political science, University of Gothenburg, studied the extent of ideological polarization in Sweden.

In the end of April 2022, “SNS Democracy Council Report 2022: Local Democracy at a Crossroads” was published. The Council, chaired by Professor Gissur Ó Erlingsson, studied how Swedish local democracy is doing, analyzed the most important challenges facing it, and critically reviewed the main choices we see ahead of us.

During the period 1995–2011, the SNS Democracy Council published annual reports. For information on these reports as well as other books and reports on democracy and the political system, click here.

The SNS Democracy Report 2017 and the seminar series have received financial support from the Hans and Märit Rausing Charitable Trust, Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (The Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation), the Swedish Research Council and Bonnier Holding.

Contact: Nina Bruce, project manager, nina.bruce@sns.se


SNS Democracy Council Report 2022: Local Democracy at a Crossroads

Swedish municipalities are facing major challenges, but according to the four authors in the SNS Democracy Council 2022, Swedish local democracy seems to be quite healthy. However, The Council proposes a series of reforms to promote accountability and the rule of law in Swedish municipalities, as well as a clearer division of labor between politicians and public officials. Watch the seminar (in Swedish). 2022.04.47

Consequences of the French presidential election

A conversation about the upcoming French election with Håkan Åkesson, Ambassador at the Swedish Embassy in Paris, Göran von Sydow, Director at The Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies (SIEPS), Magdalena Svensson, IK Partners, and Alice Petrén, journalist. Watch the seminar (in Swedish). 2022.03.15

Election year 2022: Opinions among voters and elected

During the first month of the election year, SNS hosted a seminar on the opinions of voters and elected representatives with political scientists Henrik Ekengren Oscarsson, Maria Oskarson, Anders Sundell and Patrik Öhberg. Comments from Teres Lindberg and Jessika Roswall, both members of the Swedish Parliament. Watch the seminar (in Swedish). 2022.01.28

How well does the electoral system work?

Lena Hjelm-Wallén presented “Valutredning”, which was handed over to the Swedish government on 15 December 2021. Discussants were Head of the Swedish Security Service Charlotte von Essen, Professor of Political Science Jan Teorell and The Swedish Election Authority’s Chief of Staff Anna Nyqvist discussed the inquiry. Watch the seminar (in Swedish). 2022.01.13

What is the role of the media in terms of polarization?

Raoul Grünthal, outgoing CEO of Schibsted Sweden, journalist Emanuel Karlsten as well as media scholars Annika Bergström and Peter M. Dahlgren discussed political polarization in relation to established and alternative media. Watch the seminar. June 28, 2021

What is required to carry out major political reforms these days?

Johannes Lindvall, professor of political science at Lund University, presented his research on what is required to carry out major political reforms. Comments from Per T. Ohlsson, journalist and writer, Eva Uddén Sonnegard, PhD in economics and former state secretary (Moderates), and Bengt Westerberg, former minister of social affairs and leader of the Liberal Party. The discussion was chaired by Cecilia Garme, journalist with a PhD in political science. Watch the seminar. May 6, 2021

Democracy Council Report 2021: Polarization in Sweden

Polarization has in recent years become a term commonly used in a variety of contexts. But what does polarization refer to and has the level of political polarization increased in Sweden? This has been studied by professor Henrik Ekengren Oscarsson together with three colleagues in the “Democracy Council Report 2021: Polarization in Sweden.”. Comments from party secretaries Lena Rådström Baastad (Social Democrats) and Gunnar Strömmer (Moderates) as well as by Jan Helin, media director at SVT. Watch the seminar. March 26, 2021

Which lessons can be learned from how the new government was formed in 2018?

It was not until 134 days after the 2018 Swedish election that Sweden had a new government consisting of the Social Democrats and the Green Party. Why was the government that had just resigned simply recreated and why did it take so long? This was discussed by Johannes Lindvall and Jan Teorell, both professors of political science, Maggie Strömberg, political reporter at Expressen, and Per Westerberg, former member of parliament (Moderates) and speaker of the parliament in 2006–2014. Watch the seminar. November 17, 2020

Post-election analysis of the US presidential election

Two days after the US presidential election, SNS invited political scientists, historians and representatives from the business sector for a discussion. Why did things transpire the way they did? Which agenda will the newly elected president pursue? And what does this mean in terms of politics and the economy? Watch the seminar. November 5, 2020

The corona crisis: What are the effects of the pandemic with regard to democracy?

In the wake of the coronary crisis, many countries have taken extensive measures to reduce the spread of the virus. Governments around the world have gained more power at the expense of elected parliaments while constitutional rights are under threat in many locations. During the webinar, Johannes Lindvall and Staffan I. Lindberg, both professors of political science, discussed the situation in the world at large, the risk of governments taking advantage of their increased powers only intended to be temporary even after the crisis and what we can learn from past experiences. Watch the webinar. May 19, 2020

The Swedish Commissions of Inquiry

Presentation of the report The Swedish Commissions of Inquiry 1990‒2016. In Sweden, the government typically appoints an independent commission, known as a commission of inquiry, with members coming from the government, opposition parties, academia, interest groups, and the private sector. The broad commission membership has often succeeded in negotiating compromises and incorporating different perspectives on the implications of different proposals. Recently, however, both scholars and policymakers have expressed concerns that commissions of inquiry may have changed in ways that make it harder for them to fulfill their roles.

SNS Democracy Report 2017: How well does the Swedish democracy function?

The general public’s trust in the political system is falling. It has become more difficult to build a stable government coalition and build a majority in the parliament. One year before the election, five political scientists presented their analysis of how well the Swedish parliamentary democracy is working.

Before the election: What makes us vote and how do we vote?

Two political scientists and two politicians discussed voting and voter behavior. What makes us go vote? What decides our party choices? And what do the parties think?

Research in brief:
Kasper M Hansen — Voting together
Maria Oscarson — How do we choose a party? (in Swedish)