Sweden’s government wants to change constitution in order to better deal with future crises

Stefan LöfvenPhoto: Jonas Ekströmer / TT / NTB
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The Swedish government is looking into the possibility of constitutional amendments to make it easier to protect society against pandemics and other crises in the future.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said that the Swedish constitution opens up a number of opportunities to protect the population in wartime. 

But he believes that more leeway is needed to implement measures during peacetime crises – such as pandemics, terrorist attacks, or natural disasters.

A committee will be appointed to assess possible legislative changes. 

All the political parties in the Swedish parliament (Riksdag) will be represented in the committee.

At the same time as Löfven announced looking into constitutional changes, Swedish health authorities announced that more than 8,000 infected people had died in Sweden during the pandemic. 

A total of 174 new deaths have been registered since before the weekend.

“No state of emergency”

Interior Minister Mikael Damberg said that it might be relevant to let the government adopt temporary laws in some cases. 

However, Damberg does not believe that it will be necessary to make it easier to introduce a state of emergency.

The committee’s report is expected to be completed sometime after the Swedish election in 2022.

Regardless of the constitutional plans, the government has announced legislative changes that will make it easier to cope with the corona pandemic. 

These can be adopted over the New Year and come into force as early as January 15, according to Minister of Social Affairs Lena Hallengren.

A prerequisite is that the Riksdag interrupts its Christmas holiday, which has not happened since the tsunami disaster in 2004.

The purpose is to make it easier for the authorities to implement restrictions such as closing shops or stopping air traffic.

Elderly care

The government also stated that changes are needed in the Swedish elderly care, which has been hit hard by the corona pandemic.

“Sweden has failed to protect the elderly,” Löfven admitted.

He pointed out that care for the elderly has been underfunded for a long time under changing governments. 

Clearer national governance is needed, according to Löfven. 

A study of a new law for elderly care will be initiated.

Löfven maintains the ambition that Sweden will have the world’s best care for the elderly, something the new law will contribute to.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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