Country of the World Sweden

About the country Sweden, its location, size, population, leaders and rulers.




Lay of the Land: Located in northern Europe on the Scandinavian Peninsula, Sweden stretches 977 mi. from its northern border above the Arctic Circle to its southernmost region of Skane and averages 200 to 250 mi. across from east to west. The country is composed of flat farm lands in the south, rocky and hilly countryside in the center, and forested mountains in the north. In the same latitudes as Alaska, Sweden has 96,000 lakes which cover a tenth of its territory and an estimated 50 billion trees which blanket half of the country.

Size: 173,731 sq. mi. (449,964 sq. km.).

Population: 8.3 million.

Who Rules: Sweden is a constitutional monarchy, with King Carl XVI Gustaf as its titular leader. The chief of state is the prime minister, who heads the controlling party or coalition in the Riksdag--the Swedish parliament--which is composed of 349 members elected at least every three years.

Who REALLY Rules: From 1932 until 1976, the Social Democrat party's leadership elite held power by monopolizing the offices of prime minister, ministers of finance, foreign affairs, defense, and social welfare, and the positions of chairman and party secretary of the LO (the Swedish Trade Union Confederation). In September, 1976, a coalition of all non-Socialist parties, including the Liberal party, Center party, and Conservative party, won a slight majority in the Riksdag and took control of the government. This new rightist coalition government is unstable. Still in control of the trade unions and only a few votes short of a majority in the Riksdag, the powerful Social Democrats looking forward to a return to power in the near future.

Sweden, the country that donated over a million immigrants to the U.S., is now the recipient of mass immigration. In 1978 there were 700,000 to 800,000 immigrants from Finland, other European countries, and the Middle East in Sweden, comprising 9% of the population. Presently, the great majority of immigrants hold the most menial jobs in Sweden. In late 1977 the Swedish parliament banned the titles "Miss," "Mrs.," and "Mr." from official use. The use of aerosol cans has also been prohibited.

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