An unrepresentative Swedish parliament

There is a 90% under-representation of the over-65s in the Swedish parliament.

The older I get the more I seem to encounter “age discrimination”. I have the perception that wisdom, knowledge and experience – but not wealth – are given a diminishing value by society. But it is not just perception. The numbers don’t lie. But the numbers also suggest that the elderly themselves contribute to this perception by giving less value to their own hard-earned qualities.

The new Swedish Parliament has just convened and a new socialist/green government (a minority government) is being formed. The media touted that this was the youngest ever Swedish Parliament and possibly one of the youngest in the world – as if it was a good thing. Perhaps it is – though I doubt it. I found the election debates degenerated often into childish squabbles. Wisdom, knowledge and experience were conspicuous by their absence from many of the candidates.

Riksdag 2014

Riksdag 2014

The Numbers (from SCB and the Election Commission):

  1. The total population of Sweden is currently (31st July 2014) 9.7 million and 19.2% (1.9 million) are over 65 years old. By 2060 the population is expected to be 11.6 million with 25.3% (2.9 million) over 65 years old.
  2. Of the 7.33 million eligible to vote, 25.6% (1.87 million) were over 65.
  3. Of the 5,901 candidates, only 13.5% were over 65 (a 53% representation).
  4. Of the major parties only the Folk Party and the Centre Party had a representation of the over-65’s among their candidates which was higher than 75%.
  5. Of the 349 elected to parliament only 2.6% were over 65 (a 10% representation)
  6. Women (86% representation) are slightly underrepresented.
  7. Under 30’s ( 56% representation) are underrepresented.
  8. Over 65s are grossly underrepresented (10% representation)

“Age discrimination” is endemic in Sweden. To be labelled a “pensioner” in Sweden has the “kiss of death” about it. This is no doubt partly due to the elderly’s perception of themselves and their disinclination to be strident. Under-representation cannot be solved by quotas since quotas are fundamentally unjust and discriminatory in nature.. The skewed representation can only be addressed by greater participation of the over-65s through the entire chain.

But a 10% representation in Parliament is untenable. Perhaps the over-65s need to take to the streets.



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