Sunday, 19 September 2010
And so it's election day.
All the parties have been campaigning up to the last minute, trying to sway the thousands of voters who still haven't made up their minds. By the lake today, one party, the currently-reigning Moderates, were offering coffee and cinnamon buns to passers-by in exchange for a little chat about the election.
The tv has been full of election issues. The papers have been packed with it. The streets have been full of campaign workers and, for the first time, the parties have been knocking on doors. Apparently, never before has so much focus been placed on the election and on increasing election turnout.
This interested me. So I checked the IFES Election Guide to see how parliamentary election turnout compares between different countries.
And, to be honest, Sweden does really well already.
In the last election, the election turnout in Sweden was 81.99%
Compare that figure to the UK (65.52%), Switzerland (49%), Czech Republic (39.12%) and Hungary (30.94%).
The best countries are Belgium (91.80%), Malta (93.30%) and, wait for it, Luxembourg (100%!!!)
Of all the 70 countries in the list, only 11 have a higher election turnout than Sweden, many of them only very slightly. That's not a bad statistic, which reflects that Swedes, in general, take their democratic rights seriously.
In Sweden, voting is not only a right. It is a duty.