Altogether there are 349 members of the Riksdag who represent eight parties. The Chamber is the heart of the Riksdag, but a great deal of the political work also takes place within the party groups and the parliamentary committees. The 349 members are elected every fourth year in general elections. To be able to stand for election, you need to be entitled to vote in the parliamentary elections yourself and you must be nominated by a political party. Eight political parties are represented in the Riksdag during the 2014-2018 electoral period. In the Chamber of the Riksdag, debates are held and decisions are taken. Photo: Melker Dahlstrand The members are not employed by the Riksdag, instead they have an assignment from the voters to represent them in the Riksdag for a specific period of time. Therefore they receive a pay rather than a salary. The members are regarded as being on their assignments around the clock, 365 days a year. The assignment is not limited to work in the Riksdag, it is also carried out in their constituencies, in other places around the country, or abroad. Together, the members belonging to the same party form a party group. All important issues are discussed in the party groups before a final decision is reached in the committees and in the Chamber. The committees prepare the Chamber's decisions The Chamber is the heart of the Riksdag. This is where the members of the Riksdag hold debates on important issues and take their decisions. The Chamber is where debates on parliamentary business are held, interpellation debates with individual government ministers and question-and-answer sessions with the Government. The work in the Chamber is an important part of the members' work, but much of their political work takes place in the party groups and in the 15 parliamentary committees. The members prepare all decisions that are taken by the Riksdag in the committees. After a committee has presented its proposal it is time for all the members of the Riksdag to adopt a position on the proposal in the Chamber. The Government seeks support for its EU policies in the Committee on European Union Affairs. The Government consults the Committee on EU Affairs prior to meetings of the Council of Ministers and meetings of the EU heads of state and government in the European Council.