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By Neil C. M. Elder

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Additional resources for Government in Sweden. The Executive at Work

Sample text

5 3 . O x f o r d University Press, 1949, 42 Government in Sweden Foreign Affairs, Defence, Social Welfare, Communications, Finance, Education (until 1968, Church Affairs and Education), Agriculture, Commerce, Interior, Civil Service Affairs and, newly, Industrial Affairs. It is, of course, the small number of the departments which makes it possible for every minister to have a seat in Cabinet (and the small number of departments is itself to be explained partly as a byproduct of the decentralized administrative system).

These formal Council of State meetings, which usually take place on Fridays at the Royal Palace in Stockholm, are traditionally primarily a rubberstamping and recording device: the real decisions are taken earlier 12 in Cabinet (Statsrâdsberedning). The evidence is that important matters are sometimes raised informally with the King before the council meeting. This is done chiefly for information purposes, but it gives the King a chance to offer his advice and even, on rare 13 occasions, to influence the course of events.

If these reflected the realities of the situation, as one observer put it in a celebrated comment many years ago, . long before the end nature would have claimed her due and all the members be sound 59 asleep". It may be agreed that the prodedure in formal Council is highly artificial. The Commission on the Constitution, mindful of its mandate to suggest ways of modernizing the Constitution, accordingly came in with reform proposals. It wanted to decentralize the bulk of business coming to the Council, restricting the Council to the ratification of items with whose final decision the head of State ought to be associated.

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