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date: 28 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Although Sweden is characterized by a stable formal framework for political representation, major changes during recent decades have affected the conditions in which political representation is exercised. A once orderly five-party system has evolved into an unwieldy eight-party system, and turnover in the Riksdag has increased. Parties are challenged from the inside by an increased presence of previously excluded groups, such as women and foreign-born representatives. Analyzing a unique series of mail surveys to Swedish MPs from 1985–2010, the chapter reports congruence on left–right issues versus profile issues for newcomer parties, gender gaps in policy priorities and policy standpoints, and trends in citizens’ trust in representative institutions. The long-term perspective demonstrates that Swedish political parties are successful survivors. There is stability in policy agreement on left–right issues, and the increased number of parties and women MPs has meant stronger agreement between certain segments of MPs and voters.

Keywords: elite surveys, issue agreement, focus of representation, substantive representation, gender representation

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