Prime Minister of Sweden

The prime minister (Swedish: statsminister [ˈstâtsmɪˌnɪstɛr] (About this soundlisten); literally "Minister of State") 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.

Prime Minister of Sweden
Sveriges statsminister
Lilla riksvapnet - Riksarkivet Sverige.png
Flag of Sweden.svg
Stefan Löfven (cropped).jpg
Stefan Löfven (caretaker)

since 3 October 2014
StyleHis Excellency (diplomatic)
Member of
Reports toRiksdag
ResidenceSager House
SeatRosenbad, Stockholm, Sweden
Term lengthNo term limit
Constituting instrument1974 Instrument of Government
Inaugural holderLouis Gerhard De Geer
Formation20 March 1876; 145 years ago (1876-03-20)
DeputyDeputy Prime Minister
Salary2,112,000 kr annually
WebsitePrime Minister's Office

Unlike most prime ministers in parliamentary systems, the prime minister is both de jure and de facto chief executive. This is because the Instrument of Government explicitly vest executive power in the government, of which the prime minister is the leader.


Before 1876, when the office of a single prime minister was created, Sweden did not have a head of government separate from the King. Historically though, the most senior member of the Privy Council (during the absolute rule this was the Lord High Chancellor) had certain similarities to the office of a head of government. This was most evident during the so-called Age of Liberty from 1718 to 1772, when powers of the Monarch were greatly reduced and the President of the Privy Council became the most powerful political figure in Sweden.

At the adoption of the new Instrument of Government of 1809, the two offices of Prime Minister for Justice (Swedish: justitiestatsminister) and Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs (Swedish: utrikesstatsminister) were created, though their roles were no more than just the heads of their respective ministries. When the office of the prime minister was created in 1876, the prime ministers for justice and foreign affairs were thus subsequently demoted to Minister for Justice and Minister for Foreign Affairs. Unlike the minister for justice, the minister for foreign affairs did however continue to be styled as "Excellency", an honour shared only with the Prime Minister.[1][2] From 1917, parliamentarian principles were definitively established in Sweden and the monarch ceased to exercise their constitutional authority to appoint the prime minister and the councillors of state (cabinet ministers) at their own discretion.[3] From that time onward, the prime minister depended on the support of a majority in the Riksdag. Over time, the prime minister came to de facto exercise the Royal prerogatives. However, the Swedish term used for the Government during this period, still was Kungl. Maj:t, an abbreviation of Kunglig Majestät (English: Royal Majesty).

Until 1974, the executive authority in Sweden had been exercised through the King in Council. Constitutional reform provided a new Instrument of Government which de jure established the parliamentary system and created a cabinet government with constitutional powers not derived from the Crown.


The Instrument of Government requires that the prime minister appoint a member of the cabinet as Deputy Prime Minister, to perform the duties of the prime minister if the prime minister cannot. However, if a deputy prime minister is absent or has not been appointed, the senior minister in the cabinet becomes acting head of government. If more than one minister has equal tenure, the eldest assumes the position (see Swedish governmental line of succession for the present governmental line of succession).

Constitutionally, the prime minister's position is stronger than that of his counterparts in Denmark and Norway. Since 1975, the prime minister has been both de jure and de facto chief executive, with powers and duties specifically enumerated in the Instrument of Government. In the two neighboring Scandinavian monarchies, the monarch is the nominal chief executive, but is bound by convention to act on the advice of the ministers. However, the so-called Torekov Compromise reached in 1971 by the major political parties, codified with the Instrument of Government that went into effect in 1975, stripped the Swedish monarch of even a nominal role in governmental affairs, thus codifying actual practices that had been in place since the definitive establishment of parliamentary government in 1917.



To appoint a new prime minister, the speaker of the Riksdag holds consultations with party leaders to propose a candidate to be submitted for approval to the Riksdag.[4]

The speaker's proposed candidate is then elected through negative parliamentarism. In practice, this means that the prime minister nominee is confirmed if fewer than 175 MPs vote 'no', regardless of the number of 'yes' votes or abstentions.[5] This is described as being "tolerated" by a majority of the Riksdag.[6]

After approval by the Riksdag, the new prime minister-designate must inform the Riksdag which ministers he or she has chosen to make up the new government.

The formal change of government, and thus the appointment of the new Prime Minister takes place after a Council of State at the Royal Palace. This is a government meeting chaired by the head of state, currently king Carl XVI Gustaf. During this meeting, the speaker gives an account of the nomination and election process. The king then announces that a change of government has taken place, finalising the appointment of the new Prime Minister.[7]


Whenever a prime minister resigns, dies, or is forced from office by the Riksdag, the speaker of the Riksdag asks the prime minister (or their deputy) to keep the government as a caretaker government until the new government takes office. [7]

With the exception of the prime minister, cabinet ministers (Swedish: statsråd [ˈstatsroːd] ( listen)) do not need the approval of the Riksdag, but they can be forced to resign by a vote of no confidence.[8] If the prime minister is forced by a vote of no confidence to resign, the entire cabinet falls, and the process of electing a new prime minister starts. The prime minister can dissolve the Riksdag, even after receiving a vote of no confidence, except during the first three months after an election.[7]


Office and residencesEdit

The government offices, including the prime minister's office, are located at Rosenbad in central Stockholm, straight across the water from the Riksdag building on Helgeandsholmen.

In 1991 Sager House (or the "Sager Palace" as it was previously called) was acquired, and since 1995 it has served as the private residence of the prime minister.

Harpsund, a manor house in Flen Municipality, Södermanland County, has served as a country residence for the prime minister since 1953. The manor is also frequently used for governmental conferences and informal summits between the government, industry and organisations in Sweden.


The salaries of the cabinet ministers, including the prime minister, is decided by and is the subject of annual review by the Statsrådsarvodesnämnden ("Cabinet Ministers' Salary Committee") of the Riksdag. Since 1 July 2019 the prime minister's monthly salary is 176,000 SEK.[9]

List of prime ministersEdit

Living former prime ministersEdit

Office and residencesEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Sveriges statskalender 1915, Retrieved 12 June 2013.(in Swedish)
  2. ^ Sveriges statskalender 1964, Retrieved 12 June 2013.(in Swedish)
  3. ^ Lewin, Leif (1 May 2007). "Majoritarian and Consensus Democracy: the Swedish Experience". Scandinavian Political Studies. 21 (3): 195–206. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9477.1998.tb00012.x.
  4. ^ "Forming a government". Sveriges Riksdag. 6 December 2016. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  5. ^ Regeringskansliet, Regeringen och (5 November 2014). "Så bildas regeringen". Regeringskansliet (in Swedish). Retrieved 18 November 2019.
  6. ^ "The Constitution of Sweden - The Fundamental Laws and the Riksdag Act" (PDF). Sveriges Riksdag. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  7. ^ a b c Riksdagsförvaltningen. "Forming a government". Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  8. ^ Riksdagsförvaltningen. "Examines the work of the Government". Retrieved 27 November 2021.
  9. ^ "Statsrådsarvoden och ersättningar" (in Swedish). Government of Sweden. 1 July 2019.

External linksEdit