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Black and white photo of Hanna Bäck. Photo.

Hanna Bäck


Black and white photo of Hanna Bäck. Photo.

Minority governments in Sweden : Majority cabinets in disguise


  • Hanna Bäck
  • Johan Hellström

Summary, in English

This chapter focuses on governments in Sweden, a country which has a relatively high share of minority governments, over 70 percent, in the post-war period. Most governments formed during this period have been single-party Social Democratic cabinets, supported by one or more parties in parliament, but there have also been several cases of minority coalitions. Swedish politics has historically been characterized by a strong emphasis on a near-unidimensional political conflict along the left–right policy dimension, and a negative parliamentary system which most likely account for the high occurrence of minority cabinets. The chapter describes Sweden as a prime example of what has been called ‘contract parliamentarism’, where minority governments often had support party arrangements in the form of an explicit written contract with one or more opposition parties, publicly committing the partners to a policy agreement. The chapter also shows that minority governments in Sweden have performed well, with a high share of government bills having passed through parliament, a high survival of cabinets, and a high level of electoral support. The legislative successes are partly because of contract parliamentarism but also because opposition parties can gain substantial policy influence via the rather strong parliamentary committee system.


  • Department of Political Science

Publishing year







Minority Governments in Comparative Perspective

Document type

Book chapter


Oxford University Press


  • Political Science




  • ISBN: 9780192871657