Early voting starts in Sweden as election race heats up

Early voting starts in Sweden as election race heats up
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven voted in Örebro on Wednesday. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT
Early voting has opened in Sweden, with two and a half weeks to go to election day.

If you live in Sweden, you may have received your voting card (röstkort) in the mail, with information about the location and opening time of your polling station on September 9th, the day of the election.

But you can also cast your vote in advance, and a growing number of Swedish residents are choosing to do so. More than 2.6 million people voted before election day in 2014, compared to 2.3 million in the 2010 election.

Green Party leader Gustav Fridolin voted during a visit to Malmö Central Station. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Education Minister Gustav Fridolin of the Green Party was the first of the leaders of Sweden's eight parties in parliament to vote on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven of the Social Democrats, the Christian Democrats' Ebba Busch Thor and the Left Party's Jonas Sjöstedt also voted today.

READ ALSO: How to vote in the 2018 Swedish elections

Ebba Busch Thor of the Christian Democrats voted at Kulturhuset in Stockholm. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

Sweden typically has a high voter turnout, with 86 percent of the eligible population voting in the 2014 election. It also holds three elections on the same day: national (riksdag), regional (landsting) and local (kommun).

To vote in the parliamentary elections, you must be a Swedish citizen and aged over 18.

But even if you are not yet a citizen, it is still worth having your say. Foreign nationals may vote in the country's regional and local elections if they are citizens of an EU country, Iceland or Norway, or have been registered as a permanent resident in Sweden for three consecutive years before the vote.

Your voting card should say in which elections you are allowed to cast your vote. If you have not received your card by August 22nd, you should contact the Swedish Election Authority here

READ ALSO: How to use Abba to make sense of Swedish politics

The Left Party's Jonas Sjöstedt voted in Alby, south of Stockholm. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

Swedish nationals based abroad meanwhile have been able to vote since August 16th.

It is likely to be a close election followed by several rounds of negotiation before a government is formed. Here's how the parties fared in the latest poll by Novus/SVT, released on Wednesday:

Social Democrats (25.1 percent)
Moderates (19.3 percent)
Sweden Democrats (19.2 percent)
Centre Party (10.0 percent)
Left Party (8.7 percent)
Green Party (6.2 percent)
Liberals (5.3 percent)
Christian Democrats (3.5 percent)
Others (2.7 percent)

Click here to read more about the various parties.

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