1921 Swedish general election

Early general elections were held in Sweden between 10 and 26 September 1921.[1] In the first elections held under universal suffrage, the Swedish Social Democratic Party remained the largest party, winning 93 of the 230 seats in the Second Chamber of the Riksdag. Party leader Hjalmar Branting formed his second government.

1921 Swedish general election

← 1920 10 September 1921 1924 →

All 230 seats in the Riksdag
  First party Second party Third party
  Hjalmar branting stor bild.jpg Arvid Lindman.jpg Raoul Hamilton 1959.JPG
Leader Hjalmar Branting Arvid Lindman Raoul Hamilton
Party Social Democrats Electoral League Free-minded
Last election 75 71 47
Seats won 93 62 41
Seat change Increase18 Decrease9 Decrease6
Popular vote 630,855 449,302 325,608
Percentage 36.22% 25.79% 18.69%

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
  Johannes Andersson SPA (cropped).jpg Karl Kilbom - Sveriges styresmän.jpg Ivar Vennerström - Sveriges styresmän.jpg
Leader Johan Andersson Karl Kilbom Ivar Vennerström
Party Farmers' League Communist SSV
Last election 30[a] 7
Seats won 21 7 6
Seat change Decrease9 Steady0 New
Popular vote 192,269 80,355 56,241
Percentage 11.04% 4.61% 3.23%

Prime Minister before election

Oscar von Sydow


Hjalmar Branting
Social Democrats


Before the elections in 1921, the Social Democratic Left Party of Sweden accepted Lenin's April Theses. It was renamed the Communist Party of Sweden, whilst a breakaway faction of some 6,000 socialists who had been excluded by the communists as non-revolutionary elements kept the previous name.

Electoral systemEdit

Examples of ballot papers used for election

In 1921, universal and equal suffrage was introduced for men and women alike, and the Riksdag finally achieved a system of democratic representation for all citizens who were at least 23 years old on election day. Nevertheless, it was still possible, even after 1921, to exclude certain groups from the right to vote. An example was individuals who had been declared incapable of managing their own affairs by a court of law. This limitation of the franchise disappeared only in 1989 when the Riksdag abolished incapacitation.

It signified the five first women MPs to be elected to the Swedish Parliament after the women suffrage of 1919, with Kerstin Hesselgren in the Upper chamber, and Nelly Thüring (Social Democrat), Agda Östlund (Social Democrat) Elisabeth Tamm (liberal) and Bertha Wellin (Conservative) in the Lower chamber.

Alongside the universal franchise reform, a parliamentary system of government developed and gained acceptance, implying that the government requires the Riksdag's confidence and support for all major decisions. As of 1921, all major treaties with foreign states had to be approved by the Riksdag, and the two chambers of the Riksdag now elected their own Speakers along with two deputy speakers each.


Swedish Social Democratic Party630,85536.2293+18
General Electoral League449,30225.7962–9
Free-minded National Association325,60818.6941–6
Farmers' League192,26911.0421–9
Communist Party80,3554.6170
Social Democratic Left Party56,2413.236New
Other parties7,3220.4200
Valid votes1,741,95299.68
Invalid/blank votes5,6010.32
Total votes1,747,553100.00
Registered voters/turnout3,222,91754.22
Source: Nohlen & Stöver


As a result of the election Prime Minister Oscar von Sydow resigned and was replaced by Hjalmar Branting who also became Foreign Minister of Sweden. Although the non-socialist parties held a majority in the second chamber, Branting was able to hold office through being the largest party and reaching cross-ideological consensus in the chamber. The centre-right majority took over the governing in 1923 under Ernst Trygger following a parliamentary loss for the Social Democrats over unemployment protection.


  1. ^ Total seats of Farmers' League and Farmers' Association


  1. ^ Nohlen, D & Stöver, P (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p1858 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  • Nordisk familjebok, (Owl edition), 2nd ed., Stockholm : Nordisk familjeboks förlags aktiebolag, 1904-1926 (in Swedish)