World Country Sweden

About the world country Sweden, its location, size, population, and who is in power.



Location: Northern Europe, along the eastern half of the Scandinavian Peninsula. Size: 173,731 sq. mi. (449,964 sq. km.). Population: 8,335,000.

Who Really Rules: While a coalition of three centrist parties holds a one-vote majority over the labor-backed coalition of two left-wing parties, the political programs of the two coalitions are remarkably similar. Both support the continuation of Sweden's welfare state. Both coalitions are divided on the hot issue of phasing out existing nuclear power plants. (No one wants to start new nuclear construction.)

Though governed by a socialist coalition for decades, Sweden's economy is characterized by more private ownership than "capitalist" France and Italy. Unions, however, have direct roles in corporate management, and they are pushing for actual stock ownership. On a recent U.S. tour, King Carl XVI Gustaf avoided crossing labor union picket lines. In late 1978 Sweden signed a 20-year economic pact with neighboring Norway, in which Norway agreed to supply petroleum to Sweden in exchange for timber, technology, and 40% of the Volvo car company.

Although Sweden has an impressive record of respecting human rights, many Swedes criticize the government's practice of assigning each person at birth a "person number," used in the administration of several government programs.

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