Tuesday June 9th 2015, 6pm
Speaker: Kristina Lemon from the Swedish Elections Authority
Chair: Lesley Riddoch, broadcaster & writer
Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh
The recent UK General Election had a 'high' turnout of 66%. The last General Election in Sweden produced no single party with a working majority - Swedes have used PR since 1909 and coalition government is normal. So is last year’s turnout of 85.8% – higher even than Scotland’s record breaking referendum. The turnout for the last council elections was 38% in Scotland but 82% in Sweden.
How do the Swedes do it? Elections are on a Sunday. All elections (for municipal and county councils and general elections) take place on the same day -- the second Sunday of September every four years. So councils benefit from the General Election buzz. Voters can vote 18 days before polling day, and change their vote on election-day itself. Anyone can form a party, even quite late in the process. Voters don’t have to register – the Swedish Election Authority simply extracts information from the central population register.
The Swedish system aims to give parties a number of seats proportional to its support among voters. Even TV and radio coverage is different – debates with 7 party leaders are entirely unremarkable. It’s all scrupulously fair – what do you expect from the first country in the world to introduce freedom of the press, in 1766?
Could Scottish democracy learn from a system like this? Kristina Lemon of the Swedish Election Authority will describe how the Swedish electoral system works.
There are LIMITED places - so please book here.