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Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden


Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden

Deputy to the Prime Minister of Sweden
Statsministerns ställföreträdare
Lesser coat of arms of Sweden
Margot Wallström (acting)
Åsa Romson (honorary title)

since 3 October 2014
Appointer The Prime Minister
Term length No fixed term,
Serves at the pleasure of the Prime Minister
Inaugural holder Gunnar Sträng
Formation January 1, 1975
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Foreign relations

The Swedish constitution allows the Prime Minister to appoint one of the Ministers in the cabinet as Deputy Prime Minister (statsministers ställföreträdare, sometimes unofficially known as vice statsminister), in case the Prime Minister for some reason is prevented from performing his or her duties. However, if a Deputy Prime Minister has not been appointed, the Minister in the cabinet who has served the longest time (and if there are several with equal experience the one who is oldest) takes over as head of government (these are marked in italic in the table below).

A Deputy Prime Minister can only serve as Prime Minister in a temporary function, as the resignation of a Prime Minister automatically includes the entire cabinet, and the Instrument of Government of Sweden requires the Speaker of the Riksdag to dismiss the cabinet in the case of the death of the Prime Minister.


  • History 1
    • Origins of the office 1.1
    • Palme assassination 1.2
    • Role in coalition governments 1.3
    • Role in one-party governments 1.4
  • List of officeholders 2
  • Notes 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Origins of the office

Historically, under the 1809 Instrument of Government the Minister for Foreign Affairs (the "second excellency" and to date the only formal "minister" save for the Prime Minister, the other cabinet members' formal title being Councillor of State for... etc) was to function as acting Prime Minister should the Prime Minister not be able not to perform his duties. With the enactment of the 1974 Instrument of Government and the inauguration of Thorbjörn Fälldin's three-party cabinet in 1976, Per Ahlmark was formally sworn in as the first to hold the office of Deputy Prime Minister.

Palme assassination

In 1986 Deputy Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson became acting Prime Minister for the transitional cabinet from March 1 to March 12, upon the assassination of Olof Palme, the only time the death of the Prime Minister has caused the Deputy Prime Minister to temporarily assume the office. Carlsson subsequently received the task of forming a new cabinet from the Speaker of the Riksdag. The cabinet was approved by the Riksdag on March 12, 1986, effectively reappointing most cabinet members in their previous offices.

Role in coalition governments

The role and position of a Deputy Prime Minister may vary. In the five last coalition cabinets, Fälldin III, Bildt and Reinfeldt I and II, and Löfven I, the Deputy Prime Minister was the head of the second-largest coalition partner (Liberals in Fälldin III, Bildt and Reinfeldt II, Centre in Reinfeldt I, Green in Löfven I). In the governments Fälldin I and II, however, the Deputy Prime Ministership belonged to the Liberal Party despite the fact that it was the smallest of the three members. The reason for this might be ascribed to an unwillingness on behalf of the Centre and Liberals to give this position to the Moderates, due to ideological differences. In all of these governments, however, the Deputy Prime Minister also had a regular Cabinet portfolio.

In July 2015, the office of the Deputy Prime Minister was the subject of some political debate. Following a brief illness of the social democratic Prime Minister, Stefan Löfven, the Prime Minister's office revealed that the Deputy Prime Minister Åsa Romson of the Green Party, although named Vice statsminister ("Vice Prime Minister") when the cabinet took office in October 2014, was in fact not expected to temporarily assume the duties of the Prime Minister as Statsministerns ställföreträdare ("Deputy of the Prime Minister") as stated in the Instrument of Government, instead yielding to the most senior minister of the cabinet. Effectively this makes social democratic Foreign Minister Margot Wallström the actual deputy of the Prime Minister, due to seniority rather than appointment. It also rendered the title of Vice statsminister an honorary title, for the most senior member of the party functioning as junior partner in the governing coalition, rather than an actual function.[1]

Role in one-party governments

The situation is different in the one-party governments that have existed since the position of Deputy Prime Minister was introduced in 1976, namely the Liberal Ullsten government and the Social Democratic governments Palme II, Carlsson I-III and Persson. While Mona Sahlin might well have been described as something of a "successor-in-waiting" (even if she ultimately did not succeed Ingvar Carlsson to the Prime Ministership), the other Deputy Prime Ministers have tended to be older and experienced politicians who have often been in charge of coordinating the work of the Government and may also have been in charge of some policy areas of their own which were not substantial enough to warrant a full-time Cabinet position, such as Bo Ringholm, who was Minister of Sport concurrently with being Deputy Prime Minister.

List of officeholders

Color key

      Independent       Social Democratic       Moderate       Centre       Left       Liberal People's       Christian Democrats       Green       Sweden Democrats

Deputy Prime Minister Position Took office Left office Duration Party Prime Minister
Per Ahlmark
Per Ahlmark
(born 1939)
Minister for Employment October 8, 1976 March 7, 1978 515 Liberal People's Thorbjörn Fälldin (C)
Ola Ullsten
Ola Ullsten
(born 1931)
Minister for International
Development Cooperation
March 7, 1978 October 18, 1978 225 Liberal People's Thorbjörn Fälldin (C)
Sven Romanus
Sven Romanus (Acting)
Minister for Justice October 18, 1978 October 12, 1979 359 Independent Ola Ullsten (FP)
Ingemar Mundebo
Ingemar Mundebo (Acting)
(born 1930)
Minister for Justice October 12, 1979 August 1, 1980 294 Liberal People's Thorbjörn Fälldin (C)
Ola Ullsten
Ola Ullsten
(born 1931)
Minister for Foreign Affairs August 1, 1980 October 8, 1982 798 Liberal People's Thorbjörn Fälldin (C)
Ingvar Carlsson
Ingvar Carlsson
(born 1934)
Minister for the Environment October 8, 1982 February 28, 1986 1239 Social Democratic Olof Palme (S)
Svante Lundkvist
Svante Lundkvist (Acting)
Minister for Agriculture February 28, 1986 October 9, 1986 223 Social Democratic Ingvar Carlsson (S)
Kjell-Olof Feldt
Kjell-Olof Feldt (Acting)
(born 1931)
Minister for Finance October 9, 1986 February 16, 1990 1226 Social Democratic Ingvar Carlsson (S)
Lena Hjelm-Wallén
Lena Hjelm-Wallén (Acting)
(born 1943)
Minister for International
Development Cooperation
February 16, 1990 February 27, 1990 11 Social Democratic Ingvar Carlsson (S)
Odd Engström
Odd Engström
February 27, 1990 October 4, 1991 584 Social Democratic Ingvar Carlsson (S)
Bengt Westerberg
Bengt Westerberg
(born 1943)
Minister for Health and Social Affairs October 4, 1991 October 7, 1994 1099 Liberal People's Carl Bildt (M)
Mona Sahlin
Mona Sahlin
(born 1957)
Minister for Gender Equality October 7, 1994 November 16, 1995 405 Social Democratic Ingvar Carlsson (S)
Lena Hjelm-Wallén
Lena Hjelm-Wallén
(born 1943)
Minister for Foreign Affairs
November 16, 1995 October 21, 2002 2531 Social Democratic Ingvar Carlsson (S)
(1995 – 1996)
Göran Persson (S)
(1996 – 2002)
Margareta Winberg
Margareta Winberg
(born 1943)
Minister for Gender Equality October 21, 2002 October 31, 2003 375 Social Democratic Göran Persson (S)
Marita Ulvskog
Marita Ulvskog (Acting)
(born 1951)
Minister for Culture and Sports October 31, 2003 June 1, 2004 214 Social Democratic Göran Persson (S)
Lars Engqvist
Lars Engqvist
(born 1945)
Minister for Health and Social Affairs June 1, 2004 October 1, 2004 122 Social Democratic Göran Persson (S)
Laila Freivalds
Laila Freivalds (Acting)
(born 1942)
Minister for Foreign Affairs October 1, 2004 November 1, 2004 31 Social Democratic Göran Persson (S)
Bosse Ringholm
Bosse Ringholm
(born 1942)
Minister for European Union Affairs November 1, 2004 October 6, 2006 704 Social Democratic Göran Persson (S)
Maud Olofsson
Maud Olofsson
(born 1955)
Minister for Enterprise and Energy October 6, 2006 October 5, 2010 1460 Centre Fredrik Reinfeldt (M)
Jan Björklund
Jan Björklund
(born 1962)
Minister for Education October 5, 2010 October 3, 2014 1459 Liberal People's Fredrik Reinfeldt (M)
Margot Wallström
Margot Wallström (Acting)
(born 1954)
Minister for Foreign Affairs October 3, 2014 Incumbent 646 Social Democratic Stefan Löfven (S)
Åsa Romson
Åsa Romson
(born 1972)
Minister for the Environment October 3, 2014 646 Green Stefan Löfven (S)



  1. ^ "Green leader wouldn’t replace PM in crisis". The Local. 18 July 2015. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 

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