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General elections were held in Sweden on 15 September 1985.[1] The Swedish Social Democratic Party remained the largest party in the Riksdag, winning 159 of the 349 seats.[2] Its leader, Olaf Palme, kept his position as Prime Minister. He would retain this position successfully until his assassination in 1986.

1985 Swedish general election

← 1982 15 September 1985 1988 →

All 349 seats to the Riksdag
175 seats were needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
  Olof Palme.png Ulf Adelsohn 0c225 3181.jpg Bengt Westerberg
Leader Olof Palme Ulf Adelsohn Bengt Westerberg
Party Social Democratic Moderate People's
Last election 166 86 21
Seats won 159 76 51
Seat change Decrease7 Decrease10 Increase30
Popular vote 2,487,551 1,187,335 792,268
Percentage 44.7% 21.3% 14.2%

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
  Falldin.JPG Bundesarchiv Bild 183-N0701-023, Berlin, Erich Honecker, Lars Werner cropped.jpg Alf Svensson 2003-08-25 001.jpg
Leader Thorbjörn Fälldin Lars Werner Alf Svensson
Party Centre Left-Communist Christian Democrats
Last election 56 20 0
Seats won 43 19 1
Seat change Decrease13 Decrease1 Increase1
Popular vote 490,570 298 419 200,688
Percentage 8.8% 5.4% 3.6%

PM before election

Olof Palme
Social Democratic

Elected PM

Olof Palme
Social Democratic




At a campaign meeting in Sundsvall on 22 August, Minister of Social Welfare Sten Andersson promised to increase the state pensions as a compensation for the price increases following the devaluation of the krona in 1982. The Social Democrat (Socialdemokraterna) government also stressed that it had managed to decrease the budget deficit from 90 billion to 60 billion kronas. The Social Democrats also promised not to increase taxes or lower the quality of the welfare system.

The Centre Party had a technical cooperation with the Christian Democrats. The Christian Democrats always received fewer votes than the 4% threshold for gaining seats to the Riksdag. The cooperation was criticized within the Centre Party. The aim was for both parties to gain votes, but in the end the Centre Party's share of the votes decreased in comparison to the previous election in 1982. The Christian Democrats only gained one seat in parliament for its leader, Alf Svensson.

The political debate was dominated by the Moderate Party and the Social Democrats. In January 1985, the Moderate Party had proposed in parliament a detailed plan with tax cuts and cuts in spending. The Social Democrats' leader Olof Palme managed to turn this against the Moderate Party by repeating the negative effects this would have on junior soccer teams. The Moderate Party was supported by 30 percent in an opinion poll by SIFO in June 1985, but its support decreased during the campaign.

The Liberal People's Party had chosen Bengt Westerberg as its party leader in October 1983; he had had trouble getting his message through, not least because of the party's small size in parliament and its only receiving 5.9 percent support in the 1982 election. However, in August Westerberg became viewed by the public as a calm and honest politician, in comparison to the constantly arguing Adelsohn and Palme. The Liberal People's Party was the big winner of the 1985 election, increasing its support to 14.2 percent.


Party Votes % Seats +/–
Swedish Social Democratic Party 2,487,551 44.7 159 –7
Moderate Party 1,187,335 21.3 76 –10
People's Party 792,268 14.2 51 +30
Centre Party[a] 490,999 8.8 43 –13
Left Party Communists 298,419 5.4 19 –1
Christian Democratic Unity[a] 131,548 2.4 0 0
Green Party 83,645 1.5 0 0
Centre[a] 73,711 1.3 1
Other parties 21,546 0.4 0 0
Invalid/blank votes 48,220
Total 5,615,242 100 349 0
Registered voters/turnout 6,249,445 89.9
Source: Nohlen & Stöver

a The Centre Party and Christian Democratic Unity (CDU) ran a joint list known as Centre.[3] One CDU candidate was elected on the Centre list, the first time the party had had parliamentary representation.[2]

Popular vote
Parliament seats

By municipalityEdit


  1. ^ Nohlen, D & Stöver, P (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p1858 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  2. ^ a b Nohlen & Stöver, p1873
  3. ^ Nohlen & Stöver, p1869