Cabinet of Norway
|“||The King himself chooses a Council from among Norwegian citizens who are entitled to vote. This Council shall consist of a Prime Minister and at least seven other Members. More than half the number of the Members of the Council of State shall profess the official religion of the State. The King apportions the business among the Members of the Council of State as he deems appropriate. Under extraordinary circumstances, besides the ordinary Members of the Council of State, the King may summon other Norwegian citizens, although no Members of the Storting, to take a seat in the Council of State. Husband and wife, parent and child or two siblings may never sit at the same time in the Council of State.||”|
Functions and mandate
The Council of State convenes to formally make decisions on matters of State, passing so-called Royal Resolutions (Norwegian: Kongelige resolusjoner) or Orders in Council. Theoretically, the Royal Resolutions themselves are the King's decisions, but are practically those of the government. However, they require the contra-signature of the Prime Minister, or, in cases relating to military command, of the Minister of Defence in order to be valid. Later, entire records from the proceedings of the Council of State is signed by all its members. This is done in order to remove all personal responsibility on part of the King, in keeping with Article 5 of the Constitution, which states that, "The King's person is sacred; he cannot be censured or accused. The responsibility rests with his Council". Another feature of this system is that the King, when having sanctioned a decision, is referred to as King-in-Council (Norwegian: Kongen i statsråd), meaning the King as well as his council.
According to the Constitution, certain cases, such as appointments and dismissals of higher office, pardons, provisional measures, church ordinances and ratifications of treaties must be administered by the Council of State. Whilst not prescribed in the Constitution, the signing of bills and other regulations into law is the most important feature of the work being conducted during sessions of the Council of State.
Duty of remonstrance
Article 30 of the Norwegian Constitution states that any member of the Council of State, if he is of the opinion that the "King's decision conflicts with the form of government or the laws of the Realm" is bound by a "duty to make strong remonstrances against it, as well as to enter his opinion in the records." The Article continues by stating that a Member who has not voiced such objections is liable of impeachment by the Storting should a decision made in the Council of State later be found unlawful. For the same reason, the aforesaid Article prescribes that all of the decisions made in the Council of State shall be put down in official records.
Requirements of membership
Whilst most members of the Cabinet originate from within the Storting and will have their seats deputised during their time in office, being Member of Parliament is not a requirement. However, since the introduction of Parliamentarism in 1884, all members of the Cabinet must have the express support of the legislature. In addition, they must hold Norwegian citizenship and be eligible to vote, meaning that they have attained the age of 18. Another requirement is that there must be a majority of members affiliated with the Church of Norway, the national state church. When church matters are on the table, all members of the Cabinet not registered with the Church will not be in attendance.
Order of precedence and succession
There is no official order of succession to the premiership of Norway, but the Minister of Foreign Affairs has traditionally been regarded as akin to Deputy Prime Minister, although no such title officially exists. The King established on 1 July 1993 an Order of precedence to direct seating and ranking on formal occasions. Here, the Minister of Finance enjoys the foremost rank after the Prime Minister, with the Minister of Foreign Affairs only coming in third, behind the minister of Agriculture and Food.
- Article in a Norwegian online encyclopedia (Norwegian)
- Information from the official web site of the Norwegian monarchy
- Official web portal of the Norwegian government