3.1 General description, history, and key data of the administrative system

The state agencies and county administrative boards operate in accordance with instructions set by the Riksdag and in accordance with annual budgets containing goals and programmes for their activities. The Government and its ministers are prevented from influencing the handling of individual cases. These principles, as well as the sub-division of the country into counties, go back to the 17th century. After some minor changes Sweden now has 21 counties.

The constitution is based on a far-reaching municipal self-government. Sweden currently has 290 municipalities. Several municipal reforms with consolidations of municipalities have been implemented - the latest of these took place in 1974. In the counties there also exist county councils (landsting) with directly elected council assemblies with independent powers of taxation.