Path: Table of Contents > Essay on Party Politics > Party 243
Swedish Liberal Party, 243
Variables and Codes for 1950-1962
For the concepts and variables below, use these links to Political Parties: A Cross-National Survey:
Governmental Status
Issue Orientation
Goal Orientation
Organizational Complexity
Organizational Power
Organizational Coherence
Membership Involvement
The "ac" code is for "adequacy-confidence"--a data quality measure ranging from 0 (low) to 9 (high)
Party Name and Code Number
Swedish Peoples Party, commonly called Liberal Party, 243
Information Base and Researchers
The information base for party politics in Sweden consists of 575 pages from 35 documents, with 188 pages or 33 percent pertaining to the Liberal Party. Jean Jacobsohn indexed the literature for retrieval. Eve Harris coded the variables.

Institutionalization Variables
, 1.01-1.06
1.01 Year of Origin and 1.02 Name Changes
1900, AC7
0, AC9
The predominant view is that the Liberal Party was formed in 1900, and a national organization was started two years later. But an alternative perspective on the founding of the party cites 1934, when two factions of the party, which had split in 1923, were reunited as the Folkpartiet. Certainly during our time period there was no name change.
1.03 Organizational Discontinuity
0, AC9
Apart from the major split in 1923 over the prohibition issue, which was healed in 1934 with a reunion of the factions, the Liberal Party appears not to have been troubled by splits or mergers.
1.04 Leadership Competition
5, AC6
Bertil Ohlin became the party leader in 1944 and remained the leader throughout our time period. There is no specific discussion of how he was named, but our consultant states that it was through a basically open process.
1.05 / 2.05 Legislative Instability and Strength
Instability is .18, AC8
Strength is .25 for 1st half, AC7, and .18 for 2nd half, AC9
The Liberal Party was markedly stronger in the Riksdag during the first half of our time period, maintaining 25 percent of the seats until 1958, when its representation dropped almost 10 percentage points.
1.06 / 2.06 Electoral Instability and Strength
Instability is .17, AC8
Strength is .24 for 1st half, AC8, and .17 for 2nd half, AC9
The Liberal Party suffered a progressive decline in strength at the polls during the elections of 1952,

Governmental Status Variables, 2.01-2.07
2.01 Government Discrimination
0 for 1st half, AC9
0 for 2nd half, AC9
Like the other opposition parties to the governing Social Democrats, the Liberal Party appears not to have suffered any substantial discrimination by the government.
2.02 Governmental Leadership
0 out of 7 for 1st half, AC9
0 out of 6 for 2nd half, AC9

The Liberals never entered a governing coalition, much less claimed the governmental leader.
2.03 Cabinet Participation
0 out of 7 for 1st half, AC9
0 out of 6 for 2nd half, AC9
The Liberals were always in opposition to the government throughout our period.
2.04 National Participation
5 for 1st half, AC5
5 for 2nd half, AC5
One source says liberal strength is associated with the urban areas like Stockholm and Gothenburg. Another identifies Bohuslan and Vasterbotten as traditional strongholds. It is not regarded as strong in the south.
2.07 Outside Origin
4, AC6
Impetus for founding of the party appears to have come mainly from some members in the lower house who were united on the issue of universal suffrage.

Issue Orientation Variables, 5.01-5.15
5.01 Ownership of Means of Production
1, AC8
Liberals continually snipe at the Social Democratic nationalization policies and generally see a bigger role for private enterprise to play in production. But Liberals have not made a serious attack directed toward removing basic industries from government ownership.
5.02 Government Role in Economic Planning
2, AC8
Liberals accept broad economic planning but push for greater reliance upon free market forces to set prices.
5.03 Redistribution of Wealth
2, AC6
The party has argued that citizens must be allowed to keep more of their income. It is the heavy progressive taxation that results in an income leveling, so this policy would tend to counter the redistribution of wealth.
5.04 Social Welfare
3, AC9
On the matter of social welfare, the Liberals differ mainly from the Social Democrats in the nature and perhaps the degree of state activity, but the principle of the welfare state is no longer challenged. Liberals favor pension programs, public housing, and other aspects of the welfare state, but they would allow voluntary systems a greater role in the provision of these services.
5.05 Secularization of Society
2, AC5
The literature contains only one brief reference to liberal endorsement of Christianity and humanism as the foundation of the Swedish culture. Another source notes that people who are both radical and religious tend to vote liberal. The Liberals were traditionally open to nonconformists, those who opposed the establishment of the Lutheran state church.
5.06 Support of the Military
3, AC4
There was one reference to the Liberal's support of strengthening defenses in the early stages of the Korean war.
5.07 Alignment with East-West Blocs
1, AC6
There is evidence that the Liberals advocate an alignment with the Western countries rather than the policy of strict neutrality. But it is not clear if this policy would extend to military alliances.
5.08 Anti-Colonialism
0, AC3
There is no information in the literature that states the liberal policy on colonialism, but it appears that the party's position would be benevolently ambiguous. Our consultant also points out that Swedes began to become interested in underdeveloped worlds near the end of our period, later very much so, and liberals were among the leaders here.
5.09 Supranational Integration
3, AC6
One source contends that the liberals and conservatives had more sympathy for full membership in the EEC than the other two parties (alliances with Scandinavia in favor).
5.10 National Integration
No information.
5.11 Electoral Participation
There is no information available for recent years. However, the Liberals were formed on the basis of the extension of the franchise through universal suffrage, although it seems that the Social Democrats rather than the Liberals were the main beneficiaries of the enlarged electorate.
5.12 Protection of Civil Rights
No information.
5.13 Interference with Civil Liberties
3, AC6
Our consultant reports that the Liberals also supported a policy of freedom of expression.
5.14 / 5.15 US--Soviet Experts Left-Right Ratings
US says 2, center
Soviets say 2, the party composition is varied, consisting of representatives of the upper and lower bourgeoisie, the petty bourgeoisie, civil servants, white collar workers, peasants, and even workers. The politics of the party are strongly influenced by members of the major monopolies, whose interests the party mainly reflects.

Goal Orientation Variables, 6.01-6.55
6.00 Open Competition in the Electoral Process
4, AC9
The Liberals have been consistently opposed to the Social Democratic governments, but the only strategy that the party has used has been one of open competition through elections to win enough seats to oust them from power.
6.10 Restricting Party Competition
0, AC9
Restricting competition has never been a part of the liberal strategy for acquiring governmental power.
6.20 Subverting the Political System
0, AC9
The Liberal Party is regarded as one of the four Swedish "democratic" parties -the Communist being the non-democratic party--and it has no place for subversion in its strategy.
6.30 Propagandizing Ideas and Program
6.31--AC2. No Swedish party is credited with operating its own newspaper, although many newspapers support one of the major parties. The liberal press has a circulation that equals or exceeds the combined circulation of the rest. But there is no evidence that the Liberals do any publishing as a party organization.
6.32--AC1. No information.
6.33--2, AC6. One source credits all Swedish parties with passing resolutions and statements.
6.34--2, AC4. One source credits all Swedish parties with the publication of considerable party literature.
6.50 Providing for Welfare of Party Members
6.51--0, AC3. There is no direct mention that this is not done, but it seems to be a function of the state rather than parties in Sweden.
6.52 and 6.53--0 , AC6. Our consultant advises that the liberals did not run employment services nor intercede with the government for individual citizens.
6.54--1, AC4. One source says that all Swedish parties sponsor adult education courses for the purpose of general education.
6.55--1, AC4. One source says that all Swedish parties sponsor a variety of recreational activities for its members, but there was no mention of physical facilities owned and operated by the party.

Autonomy Variables, 7.01-7.05
7.01 Sources of Funds
We know that the party gets a relatively small proportion of its funds from dues, less than 5 percent to cite a 1948 report. But there is no information about the sources of funds outside party dues. One source contends that the party is the most heterogeneous in the country, suggesting that it might draw support from many sectors. But the information just is not there.
7.02 Source of Members
5, AC6
Sources state that the Liberal Party membership is about 100,000. Although some sectarian organizations are strong supporters of the Liberals, the membership of these organizations has not affiliated with the party itself. Membership therefore is entirely direct.
7.03 Sources of Leaders
1 (sector 03), AC3
Not enough information is available about party leaders in general or party members in Parliament in particular to allow coding of this variable with precision and confidence. One statement asserts that the early leaders almost without exception were members of the professions--teachers, journalists, and lawyers. Therefore this is the sole basis of the coding.
7.04 Relations with Domestic Parties
5, AC5
The literature speaks frequently of the Bourgeois Parties acting in opposition to the Social Democrats--particularly after 1958, when the Center Party left the governing coalition. The Liberals therefore are regarded for the purposes of this code as engaging in a parliamentary alliance with the Conservatives and later also the Center Party in opposition to the Social Democrats. The Communists, with a few seats in the Riksdag, of course would not be included in this alliance.
7.05 Relations with Foreign Organizations
4, AC6
The Liberals are affiliated with the Liberal International, but not much is known about the nature and extent of their participation in this organization.

Organizational Complexity Variables, 8.01-8.07
8.01 Structural Articulation
10, AC6
The literature tends to discuss party organization for Swedish parties generally rather than specifically, so there is not much detail for each party. But the Liberals do have a national convention of from 100 to 400 delegates which meets annually. It also has a National Committee of from 25 to 60 members that is selected in part by the convention and in part by the district organizations, which generally follow the electoral districts for Riksdag representation. There is also a smaller Executive Committee of from 7 to 20 members, but its selection is not clear. The party also has a party organization within Parliament, but this, too, is not discussed at length.
8.02 Intensiveness of Organization
4, AC5
The lowest unit of organization for the Liberals is the Party Local, based in one or two parishes in the rural areas and subdivisions of larger towns. Assuming that there are about 1,000 of these local organizations as the literature indicates, there must be several thousands of voters per local, which would classify the basic unit in the branch or ward category according to our codes.
8.03 Extensiveness of Organization
5, AC5
The party certainly does not have thorough coverage of the country with its local organizations, which appear to be scattered in the south, including Stockholm. It is possible that the local organizations do not cover an area with more than 2/3 of the population, which would suggest lowering the code, but adequate data are not available to support this.
8.04 Frequency of Local Meetings
3, AC4
One source mentions that most local organizations meet only once a year. Apparently, this applies to the Liberal Party.
8.05 Frequency of National Meetings
No information.
8.06 Maintaining Records
6, AC4
It seems that all the major parties engage in extensive publication activity. There is no mention at all that the Liberals maintain any type of archive to support research, and it appears that their membership lists are not outstanding.
8.07 Pervasiveness of Organization
3, AC6
The Liberals are credited with having a small but active youth group ( the FPU) and a women's group (the FPK).

Organizational Power Variables, 9.01-9.08
9.01 Nationalization of Structure
3, AC5
There is no clear statement about the relative influence of the parliamentary organization in comparison to the National Committee. The party chairman is also head of the executive group in Parliament, and it is likely that he works closely with the parliamentary group in planning and executing party policy. Within the Liberal Party, there is some basis for more decentralization, for the district organizations have a direct hand in the selection of the National Committee.
9.02 Selecting the National Leader
There was no opportunity to judge the process for choosing the party leader in our time period, for the leadership in the Liberal Party did not change. The party congress appears to have that power, but the information is insufficient to judge.
9.03 Selecting Parliamentary Candidates
3, AC9
By all accounts, the district party organizations select their own candidates. The selection process is usually dominated by the local leaders, although there is provision for the rank and file to place names in nomination.
9.04 Allocating Funds
2, AC5
For all the democratic parties in Sweden, funds are claimed to be collected primarily at the local level and transmitted upwards to the national organization. But this probably applies most directly to party dues, and the collection of contributions is not discussed in the literature. Moreover, the Liberal Party obtains most of its support from the contributions rather than the dues.
9.05 Formulating Policy
5, AC6
Our literature file contains no information on this variable, but our consultant advises this code.
9.06 Controlling Communications
0, AC4
The Liberals do not have any party newspaper under their own control, and there was no mention of a regular magazine or periodical publication, although the party seems to publish a good deal of more fugitive material. Note, however, that there are more newspapers in the country oriented to the Liberal Party than to any other, but these are not under the control of the party organization.
9.07 Administering Discipline
0, AC4
We know that there is no formal provision for administering discipline within the parties generally, but conformity of deputies is induced through the bestowal of Riksdag committee positions.
9.08 Leadership Concentration
3, AC4
Although Ohlin was leader of the Liberal Party throughout our time period, there is little evidence that his leadership was so complete that he could run the party. There were references to meetings of Liberal Party leaders to solve party problems. It seems that Ohlin must get support from other notables within the party in order to effectively bind the party.

Coherence Variables, 10.01-10.06
10.01 Legislative Cohesion
.80, AC3
There are no tabulations of Riksdag votes to use in making this estimate. There was one incident of a Liberal Party member tabling his vote, rather than voting with his party, which enabled a Social Democratic pension program to carry. The deviant member did not appear to be the subject of later party discipline, and it is therefore thought that occasional deviations occur. But better data could result in a different code.
10.02 Ideological Factionalism
2, AC3
A reference was made to right and left voting tendencies among the voters who commonly vote liberal, and this difference is assumed to have some counterpart among the party workers and leaders. But the literature does not speak about such divisions within the party generally.
10.03 Issue Factionalism
1, AC7
There are clearly lively discussions over issues within the Liberal Party, but no special issues are identified as serving as the basis for factionalism.
10.04 Leadership Factionalism
0, AC7
In the absence of contests to Ohlin's leadership of the party during our time period, it appears that there has been no substantial leadership factionalism nor even major disputes about his leadership abilities.
10.05 Strategic or Tactical Factionalism
0, AC7
No discussion of strategic or tactical factionalism has occurred within the literature, but following our time period there certainly was consideration of the formation of a bourgeois opposition party to contest Social Democratic domination of the government.
10.06 Party Purges
0 for 1st half, AC9
0 for 2nd half, AC9
There were clearly no purges within the Liberal Party.

Involvement Variables, 11.01-11.06
11.01 Membership Requirements
3, AC8
There definitely was a paid Liberal Party membership which was estimated variously from 100,000 to 150,000.
11.02 Membership Participation
2, AC3
There really is little information on which to base this code other than the general characterization that the rank and file members in the parties are not that active but that they do display some interest in the party activities. The code certainly could be wrong.
11.03 Material Incentives
0, AC3
Because the Liberal Party has been out of government power for so long and could not offer much in the way of material rewards, material incentives are assumed to be lacking for most militants.
11.04 Purposive Incentives
2, AC3
Surely some of the militants, estimated here as half, must be motivated by purposive incentives in the form of opposition to the Socialism practiced by the Social Democrats. Our consultant also suggests that church and temperance ideas may be operative incentives.
11.05 Doctrinism
0, AC3
There is no mention of party doctrine, and it is assumed that there is no basis for doctrinism within the party.
11.06 Personalism
0, AC3
There was no contention in the literature that Ohlin exercised charismatic leadership over party militants.