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Distribution of seats

When the County Administrative Board has finished counting all the votes, distribution of seats among the parties can begin.

Thresholds for parties

In order to take part in the distribution of seats in parliamentary elections and elections to the European Parliament, a political party must gain at least 4% of all valid votes cast in the whole of Sweden. However if a party gains at least 12% of the votes in one constituency, it may also participate in the distribution of permanent seats in that constituency.

In county council elections, a political party must gain at least 3% of all valid votes cast in the whole county in order to take part in the distribution of seats. In municipal elections, a party must have received 3 percent of all votes in municipalities with several constituencies and 2 percent for non-constituent municipalities in order to be permitted to participate in the distribution of mandates.

Distribution of seats between parties

First the permanent seats are allocated to the different parties and then the adjustment seats. These seats are distributed on the basis of the number of votes that each party has received in each constituency.

The method of calculation used to distribute the permanent seats is called the “adjusted odd-number method”.

Parliamentary elections

When the permanent seats have been distributed between the parties within each constituency, the permanent seats for each party in all constituencies (a total of 310 seats) are totalled. A new distribution of seats is then carried out using the same method but based on the parties’ grand total of votes in the country. This time, 349 seats are distributed, taking the whole of Sweden as one single constituency.

A comparison is then made between the outcomes of the two distributions. A party which has obtained more seats in the second distribution, using the whole of Sweden as one constituency, is entitled to adjustment seats. A party receives adjustment seats in the election district where its comparative figure is largest following the distribution of the permanent seats. If a party has not obtained permanent constituency seats in every constituency, the party’s total number of votes in the constituencies where the party has not yet gained a seat is used as the comparative figure when distributing adjustment seats.

If a party receives more seats in the summation of the constituency seats than in the distribution using the votes of the entire country, it is still permitted to retain the constituency seat number and consequently there will be the equivalent number fewer adjustment seats to distribute.

County council elections

In county council elections, 9/10 of the seats are permanent seats and 1/10 adjustment seats. The seats are distributed using the same method as for parliamentary elections. First the permanent seats in each constituency are distributed. A distribution of the total number of seats for the county is then made, based on the total number of votes for each party in the whole county. This makes it possible to determine which parties are entitled to adjustment seats. The adjustment seats are distributed using
the same rules as for parliamentary elections.

Municipal council elections

In municipal council elections, all seats are permanent, and the number of seats in each constituency has previously been determined by the County Administrative Board.

Elections to the European Parliament

In elections to the European Parliament all seats are permanent and the entire country forms one constituency. Constituency distribution was then compared with total county distribution of all 71 seats in the County Council.

The adjusted odd-number method

Permanent seats are distributed on the basis of the number of votes that the parties have obtained in each constituency. Comparative figures are calculated for the parties that have qualified to take part in the distribution of seats.

The first comparative figure is obtained by dividing each party’s total vote by 1.2. The party with the highest comparative figure obtains the first seat in the constituency. The party then obtains a new comparative figure by dividing the party’s total vote by 3. Other parties retain and compete with their original comparative figure until they obtain a seat. When a party obtains its second
seat the total vote is divided by 5, which gives the next comparative figure. At the third seat the total vote is divided by 7 etc. This calculation continues until all the seats have been distributed.