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Sweden: Parliament Adopts Code of Conduct for Members

(Jan. 26, 2017) On December 16, 2016, the Swedish parliamentary Speakers Secretariat (consisting of the Speaker of Parliament and three deputy speakers) and Member group leaders announced new rules of conduct for Members of Parliament, which took effect on January 1, 2017. (Ny uppförandekod för riksdagsledamöter [New Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament], RIKSDAGEN (Dec. 16, 2016); En uppförandekod för ledamöterna i Sveriges riksdag [A Code of Conduct for Members of the Swedish Parliament] (Code of Conduct), RIKSDAGEN (Dec. 14, 2016).)

The role of Swedish Members of Parliament is regulated in chapter 5 of the Riksdagsordning [Riksdag Act] and chapter 4 of the Instrument of Government. (Riksdagsordning (Svensk författningssamling [SFS] 2014:801), RIKSDAG; 4 ch. 10-13 §§ Regeringsformen [RF] [Instrument of Government] (SFS 1974:152), RIKSDAGEN.)

The purpose of the new Code of Conduct is to consolidate all rules pertaining to Members of Parliament in one place, making them more accessible to MPs and constituents alike. (Code of Conduct, at 9.)  These rules are otherwise found in a number of sources, ranging from the Constitution to unwritten rules of common practices.  (Id.)  The new rules will regulate how issues such as receiving gifts, bribery, and conflicts of interest will be dealt with; they include rules pertaining to the financial registry, in which MPs must list their financial holdings.  (Id. at 7.)  The rules also include guiding commentary on these provisions, aimed at aiding Members and citizens in determining lawful and ethical behavior, and they demand transparency from the representatives.  (Id. at 19.)

The Swedish Speakers secretariat will supervise the further development and enforcement of the ethics rules specified in the Code of Conduct. The group leaders (for the individual political parties) are responsible for enforcing the rules within their political groups.  (Id. at 8.)