Riksdagsutskottens initiativrätt – oppositionens nya hammare?
Swedish parliamentary committees’ right to initiative – the opposition’s new hammer?
The Riksdag committees’ use of their right to initiate legislation or budget amendments has evolved notably under the parliament’s unicameral period. Committee initiatives are used less for rectifying legislative drafting errors and increasingly as a political tool by the opposition in sharp conflict with the Government’s wishes. Increase in levels of conflict and the fragmentation of political landscape (from five to eight parliamentary parties) correspond with amplified use of committees’ initiative powers. After June 2011 opposition parties started to intensify the deployment of initiatives against the will of the governing parties. Since November 2020, this trend has increased enormously. The general level of unity behind initiatives has continuously decreased since 1971. These developments cast doubt on the political parties’ abilities to live up to the lawmaker’s presuppositions that committee initiatives should be used carefully and in strive of unity and that they should not lead to undue interference in the Government’s activities.