Stortinget, the Norwegian Parliament
Photo: Petter Foss / MFAStortinget, the Norwegian Parliament. Photo: Petter Foss / MFA

The Storting

The Storting (Norwegian national assembly) has served as the highest political body in Norway since the introduction of Parliamentarianism in 1884. Elections to the Storting are held every fourth year, and mandates are distributed according to a system of proportional representation. The Government is selected on behalf of the King from within the Storting.

A Storting majority can utilize a vote of no confidence to bring about the resignation of a Government or a specific minister. A motion of no confidence can be submitted by any member of the Storting or the Government itself may put forth a request for a confidence vote. In the event that a Government has broken the law or acted in violation of the Constitution, it may be impeached by the Storting. However, this has rarely happened in practice.

The Storting maintains formal control over the two most important tools of government: the enactment of legislation and approval of national budgets. Most bills and national budgets proposals are introduced to the Storting by the Government. Normally, only minor adjustments need to be made to the bills, as the Government either already has a supporting majority in the Storting, or has adapted its proposals to satisfy the Storting majority.

The Storting monitors the efforts of the Government. The most important instruments of control include calling a vote of confidence, invoking the court of impeachment, checks by the Office of the Auditor General and the system of parliamentary questions and interpellations. During Question Time, members of the Storting can pose questions directly to the Government which must be answered by the appropriate minister. A short debate will normally ensue.

The Storting comprises 169 elected representatives, all representing a party.

The Storting is headed by a Presidium consisting of six members. Negotiations and the debate in the Storting chamber tend to play a minor role in the outcome of a given issue. Most of the work takes place in the standing committees, which is where a majority of the changes to governmental bills are proposed. Along with the private party groups, the twelve standing committees comprise the most important political bodies of the Storting.

The Storting is elected by county on the basis of proportional representation, i.e. each county is awarded a specified number of representatives based on its population.

Source: Edited from Aschehoug and Gyldendal's Norwegian Encyclopedia   |   Share on your network   |   print