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Robin Linderborg

Dec 6, 2021

The Longest Serving MP in Sweden

Of the 349 current members of parliament in Sweden, Barbro Westerholm (L) is the only one who started her first term in the 1980s. Yet, there's another MP with even more experience.

Using a combination of data from Riksdagen (the Swedish parliament) and Wikidata, Datastory has compiled a dataset of all terms of the current members of parliament. With the numbers gathered and quality checked, the first question that peaked our interest was how long MPs typically serve.

The most recent addition to Riksdagen at the time of this writing is Kristoffer Lindberg (S), a substitute that is scheduled to temporarily hold his seat from November 1 to December 19 this year. At the other end of the spectrum is Barbro Westerholm (L). She first took office in October 1988, over 33 years ago.

However, due to a period between 1999 and 2006, when she left politics to become president of the Swedish Pensioners' Association, she does not hold the record for longest time served in parliament. Surpassing Westerholm with just a couple of days is Tuve Skånberg (KD). Which also makes him the alderman ("ålderspresident") of Riksdagen.

Historical terms of current Swedish MPs

Historical terms of current Swedish MPs. Source Wikidata/Datastory.

Another notable politician in the veterans corner is the opposition leader Ulf Kristersson (M) who started out as a substitute after the 1991 election. It will be some time before he's eligible for the alderman position though, as he spent the years 2000-2014 outside Riksdagen.

On average, the current Swedish MP has served for slightly more than seven years. Party comparisons are non-trivial as not all parties have been represented the whole time period of 1988-2021. Fluctuations in the number of mandates further complicates things. One point to note though is the Green Party's "rotation principle" which states that members must not serve more than three consecutive terms.

Methodology

The data has been downloaded from Wikidata. Datastory team members have made efforts to improve and enrich the data prior to downloading it. All calculations were done using Python.

If an MP goes on to serve in the government, the term is considered to be on halt and the substitute MP is allocated the following time period.


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