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A King Who Does Not Rule

February 20, 2011  by: joeldgreat  Points: 15   Category: People  Earning $0.35   Views: 684

Sweden is a country in northern Europe. It has had monarchs for more than a thousand years. At one time, the monarchs were very strong leaders. Today, Sweden's monarch has very little power.

         

Sweden is a country in northern Europe. It has had monarchs for more than a thousand years. At one time, the monarchs were very strong leaders. Today, Sweden's monarch has very little power. The real head of the government is the prime minister .


King Carl XVI Gustaf

The king, Carl XVI Gustaf , is a living symbol for the people. A symbol is something that stands for something else. The Swedish monarch today is a symbol of Sweden. His importance lies in his power to remind the people of their unity, their history, and their national pride. His power is the power of evoking feelings. He does this in all of his various duties. He welcomes important visitors. He often appears at celebrations on national holidays. But he does not have any power to make laws or decide what the government should do. This is why he is called a symbolic leader.


Riksdag Assembly Hall in 2006

It is Sweden's legislature that has the power to make laws and decisions. Called the Riksdag , it is one of Europe's oldest legislatures. In 1435, Swedish farmers rose up against their monarch. They formed a lawmaking group. This legislative body was the forerunner of the modern Riksdag. Among the members of Sweden's first legislative group were townspeople and farmers, as well as the powerful nobles and church leaders. In the early Riksdag, only the nobles and church leaders had much power. They could choose a new monarch if they wished. Otherwise, the power was passed down through the monarch's family.

In 1809, Sweden lost much land to the country of Russia, its neighbor to the east across the Baltic Sea. The Riksdag wanted a king who could defend the country. They choose Jean Baptise Bernadotte , a French general, as their king. Sweden's royal family today is descended from the Bernadotte family.

The family of Bernadotte gave the Swedish people good government. Slowly, during the 1800's the townspeople in the Riksdag gained riches and power. They demanded more rights for all the people. By 1917, the Riksdag had gained control of the government. It accomplished this peacefully, though changes in the law. The monarchs had lost most of their power.

Today, Sweden is rule by the Riksdag and a prime minister. The Riksdag makes the laws. The members of this body are chosen by the people. Everyone over eighteen years old may vote. The Riksdag chooses the leader of the strongest political party in the legislature to be the prime minister. The prime minister then chooses advisers to help carry out the laws. Taken together, the advisors are called the cabinet . In the United States, the president also chooses a cabinet. Two members of the American cabinet are the secretary of defense and the attorney general.


Olof Palme

In Sweden, there are several political parties. But one party, the [RED]Social Democrats[/RED] , received the most votes from 1932 to 1972 and then again in the elections of 1982, when Olof Palme became the prime minister. The Social Democrats started many practices that continue to this day. The government provides free medical services for all the people. It takes care of old people, widows, orphans, and the unemployed. It sees to it that all employed workers receive a vacation with pay every year. In these and other ways, Sweden's government provides many services for the people.




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