Sweden Officially Declared Dead - Population Asleep and Silent
Sweden's parliament, the Riksdag, voted for the most sweeping changes to the country's constitution since 1974 on Wednesday, confirming Sweden's place in the EU among a raft of other amendments.
The new consititution was passed with the backing of seven parliamentary parties, with only the Sweden Democrats' 20 MPs voting against.
While the document contained many significant changes to Sweden's constitution, public debate on the document has remained conspicuously silent, explained by some as due to the broad parliamentary unity.
"I had obviously wished there was more debate," Per Bill, vice chairman of Sweden's parliament, the Riksdag's, Committee on the Constitution (Konstitutionsutskottet, KU), told newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN) on Wednesday.
The two main parties behind the constitutional reforms that will come into effect on January 1st, 2011 were the Social Democrats and the ruling Moderates.
The amendments include forcing a prime minister to face a confidence vote within two weeks following an election and enshrining EU membership in the constitution.
It also strengthens judicial powers to make it easier to determine whether new laws contravene the constitution or the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
In addition, it has eased pushing through demands for municipal referendums and lowered the barrier for electing independent candidates into the Riksdag to 5 percent from 8 percent of the votes in a constituency, a measure that is expected to result in more independent MPs.
The new agreement follows several years of constitutional inquiry followed by two parliamentary decisions in the Riksdag separated by an election. The first came in the spring of this year.
Future amendments will also require two parliamentary decisions with an election in between. The next parliamentary elections in Sweden are scheduled for September 14, 2014.
The Sweden Democrats refused to support the new constitution, critical that it makes it more difficult to leave the EU and disagreeing with calling Sweden a multicultural society.