Clarity, please!
No surprises in this poll... who wouldn't want to know what government you're voting for? Nearly seven out of 10 Swedes say it’s important to know which party or parties the political party they vote for will form a government with, according to a new survey by the polling institute Novus.

Government would like to see more people at the polls
The Swedish government invests 60 million SEK ($9 million) in raising the voter turnout next year. ”The European Union election is the greatest challenge, my goal is that we reach 50 percent,” says Minister for European Union Affairs Birgitta Ohlsson, who sees the participation in the EU election in 2009, with a 45.5 percent turnout, as scandalous.

Older ”tusenlappar” soon invalid
Older versions of the Swedish 50- and 1000 crown bills (”femtiolappar” and ”tusenlappar”), without the foil strip, will become invalid as payment methods as of the new year. Riksbanken has already collected 8 million of the 1000 SEK bills, but there are 6 million left. 1000 SEK equals $150.

More and more roundabouts
If you’ve been driving in Sweden lately, you might have noticed the increasing number of roundabouts (”rondeller” in Swedish). News from Statistics Sweden shows that the number of roundabouts have doubled in just five years. ”They’re amazingly good when it comes to safety,” says Lars Ekman, road safety expert at Trafiksäkerhetsverket (the Swedish Transport Administration). ”Sure there are accidents in roundabouts, but since the speed limits are down to 30 to 40 kilometers per hour, it is usually only sheet metal damage. It’s not like when someone runs a red light at full speed.” Statstics Sweden’s survey is new, even though it covers the years 2005-2010. During this five year period, the number of roundabouts increased in Sweden from 1,360 to close to 2,800. According to Patrik Wirsenius, expert in transport and infrastructure, the roundabouts have become even more in number since. ”They’ve become obvious solutions when building crossings,” he says. In addition to traffic saftey, a roundabout provides the traffic with a smoother flow. You enter the roundabout as soon as there’s an opening,” Wirsenius says. Roundabouts also have better aesthetic situations than traffic lights. ”Many municipalities put effort into decorating their roundabouts. At least if the roundabout is near the entrance, then a little extra has been put in to make it beautiful,” Wirsenius adds.

Sweden Democrats, third biggest party
According to Swedish voter opinion, the controversial political party the Sweden Democrats (Sverigedemokraterna) is now the country’s biggest party. In October, it received 9.4 percent, the same figure as in September, but since the Green Party (Miljöpartiet) also is falling with 0.8 percent, the Sweden Democrats takes third place. Once before, nearly a year ago, the party had just as great support from voters. Says Jonas Hinnfors, professor in political science at University of Göteborg: "It is not surprising that they are where they are. Meanwhile, one can point at the rise that came around a year ago, becuase they’ve managed to stay right there.” According to Professor Hinnfors, one of the reasons the Sweden Democrats get this much support is that their main issue—immigration—is being debated. ”When other parties discuss the issue, it sheds light on it, and in some way it shows voters it is an important issue.”