Local and Regional authority
Local authoritySweden has an ancient tradition of local authority in local matters, but in the 16th century the rule of the country was centralised and the local authorities lost much of their power. In the middle of the 19th century, attempts to restore the local authority were made; these local authorities are called Kommuner.
Sweden is divided into 286 Kommuner with an average size of 30 000 residents. Each Kommun has its own parliament and government. The local parliament, Kommunfullmäktige, is elected in general elections, held every fourth year, at the same time as the election to the national parliament. From the Kommunfullmäktige the local government, Kommunstyrelsen, is formed.
The local authorities perform many important tasks in Swedish (and Scandinavian) society, more than in many other European countries. For example, the duties of the local authorities is to handle education (except universities), social care, building control, control of the environment, health care and culture and recreation. The main sources of income are local taxes and subsidies from the State.
The Swedish Association of Local Authorities
Regional authorityOn the regional level the authorities are called Landsting. The Landsting also has a parliament and a government elected in general elections in the same way as the local authority.
In Sweden there are 23 Landsting with an average size of 342 000 residents. The cities of Göteborg and Malmö and the island of Gotland do not belong to a Landsting. There the local authority handles the same tasks.
The Landsting has the main responsibility for health and medical care. That includes some medical education, for example, education of nurses and physio-therapists. The Landsting also supports regional development, cultural activities and public transport at the regional level.
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