Norway is a constitutional monarchy. The
government has the executive power and the parliament
forms the legislative assembly. Elections to the
parliament are held every four years. It is common for
the country to be ruled by minority governments.
According to the constitution (constitution)
adopted in Eidsvoll on 17 May 1814, Norway is a monarchy
(see Older history). After a constitutional change in
1990, women also have the right to inherit the throne.
This rule does not take effect until the current Crown
Prince Haakon becomes regent.
Total population and chart of Norway for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. Also covers population density, birth rate, death rate and population growth rates.
The monarch has formally the executive power, but in
practice it is the government that governs. The
government must consist of the prime minister and at
least seven other ministers, who are formally appointed
by the monarch in accordance with the will of the
parliament (see below). The king is formally
commander-in-chief and head of the Norwegian Church (see
Religion). The monarch meets with the government once a
week and then chairs the meeting.
The legislative power lies with the
parliament, whose 169 members are
proportionally elected in general elections for four
years. Since 2009, the Storting has a single chamber.
The voting age is 18 years. In the local elections in
2011, attempts were made in some municipalities with
lower voting age to 16 years. Amendments to the
Constitution require a two-thirds majority in the
Norway is divided into 19 counties
(counties) including the municipality of Oslo.
The county governor corresponds to a Swedish
governor and the elected county council
Swedish county council. The county governor is appointed
by the government. At the local level there are elected
councils (municipal council) in the
country's 428 municipalities. County and municipal
elections are held midway between the parliamentary
elections every four years.
The selection system benefits the sparsely populated
areas. 150 parliamentary mandates are distributed
nationally according to the proportional method. In
addition, there are 19 so-called equalization mandates,
one for each county, which goes to parties that have
received at least four percent of the vote in the entire
In Norwegian politics, there is a clear contradiction
between socially leading groups in the cities and the
rural population. The contradictions are now expressed
especially in the European debate, where an urban elite
wants to bring Norway into the EU, while farmers and
fishermen in sparse areas have a strong resistance to EU
membership. In two referendums, the result has been no
to the EU (see Modern History).
Since 1989, there is a Sami Parliament
with 39 members elected by the Sami every four years.
The Sami Parliament is located in Karasjok in Finnmarka
and has an advisory function, mainly in terms of
culture, business and language. The Sami are entitled to
receive answers to Sami from public bodies in five
municipalities in Northern Norway.
The first instance of the judicial system is urban
courts and district courts
in rural areas. In all municipalities there is also a
settlement council, where disputes are
sometimes resolved through conciliation. Then follow six
appellate courts (courts of law), which
are located in Skien, Oslo, Hamar, Trondheim, Bergen and
Tromsø. In the courts of law, judgments given in village
or district courts can be appealed. The last court is
the Supreme Court of Oslo, whose
judgments cannot be appealed. The Supreme Court also
examines that the country's laws do not violate the
The law's most severe sentence is 21 years in prison.
It was awarded in 2012 to the right-wing mass murderer
Anders Behring Breivik, who on July 22, 2011 had killed
77 people in two assaults, a bombing in Oslo and a mass
shooting on the island of Utøya, where the Labor Party's
youth federation gathered for a summer camp (see Modern
History). It was the worst massacre of modern times.
Domestic policy is characterized by difficulties in
creating a lasting majority in the parliament. For a
long time, Norway has been ruled by minority governments
of various political colors, which have been forced to
seek support, not to the right, but to the left in the
political field. After the 2005 election, however, a
"red-green" coalition was formed, which became the first
majority government in two decades. The coalition could
continue to govern even after the 2009 elections, but
four years later Høyre, whose party leader Erna Solberg,
formed a minority government between his own party and
the Progress Party (see Current Politics). In the 2017
elections, the bourgeois parties won and Solberg was
re-elected as prime minister.
Høyre (H) has
traditionally been the dominant party on the bourgeois
side with a clear entrepreneurial and EU-friendly line.
The right is the only party with a majority for EU
membership among its sympathizers. The right has led
several governments (see Modern History).
The Progress Party (FrP)
has a populist and nationalist image with both right and
left issues on the program. The party was formed in 1973
as a movement against high taxes, but has subsequently
characterized the debate with demands for reduced
immigration. Conflicts over that issue prevented veteran
Carl I Hagen from taking the party into a bourgeois
government. The current leader Siv Jensen has made the
party accepted as a coalition partner to the Right.
The Labor Party (AP)
is a social democratic party that has been in charge of
the public welfare system and has long been the largest
in the parliament. The traditional welfare policy with
state ownership conflicts with the privatizations in
both industry and healthcare that have been pushed by
the party's leadership in recent decades. The party is
divided on the issue of Norwegian EU membership, where
the positive line of the party leadership is held back
by the no-vote voters. The Labor Party is strongest in
The red-green government coalition also included the
smaller parties Socialist Left Party (SV)
and the Center Party (SP).
The SV was formed in the 1960s (then called the
Socialist People's Party) through an outbreak
of the Labor Party and has been characterized by
opposition to the military alliance NATO and the EU and
a growing environmental commitment. The party, which has
always been in opposition, has been forced in government
positions to make difficult compromises, such as
allowing gas power plants and Norwegian NATO efforts in
Afghanistan, which has led to major electoral losses.
The party got its current name in 1975.
The Center Party is a center party that has ruled
both with the right and the left (see Modern History).
The party has sparse and environmental profile and has
long been a leader in EU resistance. The green and left-
leaning Environment Party De Grønne (MDG)
entered the parliament for the first time in 2013.
To the central portions belong Christian Democratic
Christian People Party (KrF)
and social liberal Venstre (V),
which in relation to the size had significant political
influence, especially in Christian Democrat Kjell, Magne
Bond's minority governments.