Freedom in the World
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Freedom Rating (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Civil Liberties (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Political Rights (1 = best, 7 = worst)
The controversial 2008 wiretapping law continued to cause political turmoil in 2009, leading to the adoption of a revised version in October. Demonstrations during the year over a range of issues resulted in several arrests, as well as an attack on the Iranian Embassy in Stockholm.
A series of protests in 2009 led to several arrests. The most severe occurred in June when nearly 100 demonstrators protesting the reelection of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stormed the Iranian Embassy in Stockholm and attacked an embassy worker.
Sweden is an electoral democracy. The unicameral Parliament, the Riksdag, has 349 members elected every four years by proportional representation. A party must receive at least 4 percent of the vote nationwide or 12 percent in 1 of the 29 electoral districts to win representation. The prime minister is appointed by the speaker of the Riksdag and confirmed by the body as a whole. King Carl XVI Gustaf, crowned in 1973, is the largely ceremonial head of state.
Sweden is a global leader in gender equality. Some 47 percent of Riksdag members are female, and half of government ministers are women. Although 80 percent of women work outside of the home, they still earn only 70 percent of men’s wages in the public sector and 76 percent in the private sector. The country is a destination and transit point for trafficking in women and children for sexual exploitation. The 2004 Aliens Act helped to provide more assistance to trafficking victims, and a “special ambassador” has been appointed to aid in combating human trafficking.