The Prime Minister (Swedish: statsminister, literally "Minister of the 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.
The current Prime Minister of Sweden is Stefan Löfven, leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party who was chosen for a second term on 18 January 2019, even after having been ousted following the general elections on 9 September 2018.
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. 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. 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.
List of Prime Ministers
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 a successor has been elected. The Speaker then holds consultations with the party leaders and appoints a Prime Minister-designate, who is submitted for approval to the Riksdag. If the Prime Minister-designate is approved, the Prime Minister chooses which and how many ministers are to be included in the government.
With the exception of the Prime Minister, cabinet ministers (Swedish: statsråd) do not need the approval of the Riksdag, but they can be forced to resign by a vote of no confidence. 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.
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.
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.