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Alcohol monopoly Systembolaget is Sweden’s most trusted institution: public confidence survey

People in Sweden show no sign of falling out of love with state-run alcohol monopoly Systembolaget, according to a study of the population's trust in different institutions, companies and political parties.

Alcohol monopoly Systembolaget is Sweden's most trusted institution: public confidence survey
Red wines for sale at Systembolaget. File photo: Leif R Jansson / SCANPIX/TT

On the other hand, public trust in the government has fallen after an election that was followed by four months of deadlock and a cross-bloc compromise, the annual trust survey from Medieakademin showed.

Almost four in five of the people interviewed (78 percent) said they had 'quite' or 'very' high trust in Systembolaget, the only place it's possible to buy drinks with more than 3.5 percent alcohol content outside licensed bars and restaurants. This was an increase from last year's edition of the survey, when Systembolaget was still the most-trusted institution but the figure was only 71 percent.

IN DEPTH: 'The most drunken country in Europe': Read this and you might like Systembolaget a whole lot better

In second place was the police force, in which 71 percent of people said they had 'quite' or 'high' trust, and in third place was the higher education system, with 70 percent. Fourth in the ranking was the Ikea brand, at 69 percent.

According to the survey, public confidence in most Swedish institutions had risen compared to earlier years.

But when it came to the government, trust had fallen, with only 30 percent of those surveyed saying they had trust in the government. This was a drop of five percentage points from the previous year.

And there was significant variation in the level of trust for the different political parties. The proportion of people saying they trusted the centre-right Christian Democrats saw the biggest change, growing from 13 percent last year to 30 percent this year; the greatest year-on-year rise reported in the survey since 2004.

But the two largest parties, the centre-left Social Democrats and the centre-right Moderates, were still the most trusted with figures of 32 and 31 percent respectively.

The media forum has carried out its annual Trust Barometer survey each year since 1997 to find out how people in Sweden view government agencies, companies and organizations. This year, around 1,200 people were interviewed for the survey.

Vocabulary

trust (noun) – förtroende

trust (verb) – lita på

alcohol – alkohol

societal debate – samhällsdebatt

annual – årlig

We're aiming to help our readers improve their Swedish by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Do you have any suggestions? Let us know.

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2022 SWEDISH ELECTION

What’s the Swedish Christian Democrats’ abortion contract all about?

Ebba Busch, leader of Sweden's Christian Democrats on Monday presented an "abortion contract", which she wants all of Sweden's party leaders to sign. What's going on?

What's the Swedish Christian Democrats' abortion contract all about?

What’s happened? 

Ebba Busch, leader of Sweden’s Christian Democrat party, called a press conference on Monday in which she presented a document that she called “an abortion contract”, which was essentially a pledge to safeguard the right of women in Sweden to have an abortion.  

“There is room for signatures from all eight party leaders,” she said. “I have already signed on behalf of the Christian Democrats.” 

What does the so-called “abortion contract” say? 

The document itself is fairly uncontroversial.

It states simply that Sweden’s law on abortion dates back to 1974, and that it grants women the right to an abortion up until the 18th week of pregnancy, with women seeking abortions later in their pregnancy required to get permission from the National Board of Health and Welfare. 

“Those of us who have signed this document support Sweden’s abortion legislation and promise to defend it if it comes under attack from forces both within our country and from outside,” the document reads.  

Why have the Christian Democrats produced it? 

The decision of the US Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs Wade, and so allow US states to ban abortion has aroused strong feelings in Sweden, as elsewhere, and Busch is seeking to send a strong signal to distance her own Christian party from the US religious right. 

Abortion has been a recurring issue within the Christian Democrats with several politicians and party members critical of abortion. 

Lars Adaktusson, a Christian Democrat MP, was found by the Dagens Nyheter newspaper to have voted against abortion 22 times when he was a member of the European parliament. 

The party has also in the past campaigned for the right of midwives and other medical professionals who are ethically opposed to abortion not to have to take part in the procedure. 

So why aren’t all the other party leaders signing the document? 

Sweden’s governing Social Democrats, and their Green Party allies, dismissed the contract as a political gimmick designed to help the Christian Democrats distance themselves from elements of their own party critical of abortion. 

“It would perhaps be good if Ebba Busch did some homework within her own party to check that there’s 100 percent support for Sweden’s abortion legislation,” Magdalena Andersson, Sweden’s prime minister, said. “That feels like a more important measure than writing contracts between party leaders and trying to solve it that way.”  

In a debate on Swedish television, Green Party leader Märta Stenevi argued that it would be much more significant if Busch’s own MPs and MEPs all signed the document. 

It wasn’t other party leaders who needed to show commitment to abortion legislation, but “her own MPs, MEPs, and not least her proposed government partners in the Sweden Democrats and even some within the Moderate Party”. 

She said it made her “very very worried” to see that the Christian Democrats needed such a contract. “That’s why I see all this more as a clear sign that we need to move forward with protecting the right to abortion in the constitution,” she said. 

How have the other right-wing parties reacted? 

The other right-wing parties have largely backed Busch, although it’s unclear if any other party leaders are willing to actually sign the document. 

Tobias Billström, the Moderates’ group parliamentary leader, retweeted a tweet from Johan Paccamonti, a Stockholm regional politician with the Moderate Party, which criticised the Social Democrats for not signing it, however. 

“It seems to be more important to blow up a pretend conflict than to sign the Christian Democrats’ contract or look at the issue of [including abortion rights in] the constitution, like the Moderates, Liberals and Centre Party want to,” Paccamonti wrote. 

The Liberal Party on Sunday proposed protecting abortion rights in the Swedish constitution, a proposal which has since been backed by the Moderate party and the Centre Party

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