In the thread quoting a critic of STV in Ireland, Tom Round has quoted an extraordinarily scathing and interesting critique, from 1971, of party-based representation that is well worth replanting here:
The weakness of the Diet [ie, Riksdag], and its irrelevance to the search for political advancement, are not the arcane discoveries of political theorists, but truths so evident to the average Swede as not to be worth discussing. He knows that, although Cabinet ministers are nowadays expected to sit in the Diet, it is in the bureaucracy that they achieve their position, seats being provided as an afterthought. And he also knows full well that a Diet seat is usually the reward of a party hack or a stalwart of a corporate organisation. This is perfectly acceptable. Personality is at a discount in Swedish politics. Indeed, to say that an election has concerned personalities is to speak in a derogatory manner. Elections in Sweden are not about politicians but parties; that is to say, not about men [sic], but impersonal interest groups or disembodied manifestoes.
This is partly a consequence of proportional representation. The huge constituencies involved, with their cohorts of participants, mitigate [scil militate] against personal identity. The average Swedish constituency sends fifteen members to the Diet, and engages 150 candidates at a General Election. On the other hand, most European countries have some kind of proportional representation without necessarily abolishing the significance of the individual candidate: Germany is a case in point. But the Swede has consciously banned personality from politics; he has done so to obtain peace of mind. As a corollary, he has no respect for the Diet, which he sees as an assembly of nonentities. To him, the Diet’s function is to toe the party line, and keep the files moving. The real power lies elsewhere…’
–Roland Huntford, The New Totalitarians, (1971), Chapter 7: “The Rule of the Apparatchik,” pp 138-39.
The Swedish electoral system has been revised recently to make preference votes more important in the final ranking of lists. Perhaps the change was motivated in part by disenchantment with the sorts of behaviors that led to Huntford’s critique.