Norway's political system, or form of government, is a
collective term for how the Norwegian state is organized and
how the state interacts with the rest of society.
Norway is formally a united state based on the principle
of power distribution and the principle of parliamentarism.
In short, this implies that political power and authority in
the Constitution are distributed nationally between the
government, the parliament and the courts. Municipalities
and county municipalities have authority only to the extent
that the Storting has delegated such power to local and
regional authorities in their own laws. This is in contrast
to federal states, such as the United States and Germany,
where the states has a separate authority defined in the
constitutional laws of these states, next to the federal
authority. In such federal states, the states often have
their own constitutional laws and governments.
If you want to summarize Norway's political system in one
sentence: Norway is a parliamentary, democratic and unified
state constitutional monarchy. Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of NO and its meanings of Norway.
Norway is a representative democracy, also called
indirect democracy, where the people elect their
representatives to the Storting, county councils and
municipal councils in general elections every four years.
The last parliamentary election took place in 2017, and the
next will be held in 2021. The last municipal and county
council elections took place in 2019, and the next will be
held in 2023 and 2027.
Indirect democracy is in contrast to direct democracy,
where the people themselves take part in the decisions, as
in referendums or as in Athenian democracy.
The people's representatives are mainly organized in
political parties. In the period from 2017 to 2021, nine
parties are represented in the Storting. It is the Labor
Party, Progress Party, Right, Christian Democratic Party,
the Green Party, Red, The Center Party, the Socialist Left
Party and the Left.
Compared to many other countries, the ratio of voters
'votes to the political parties' representation in the
Storting is almost proportional. This is a result of having
ratio choices, where the parties' mandates reflect the
number of votes in elections.
The four per cent barrier, the division method and county
constituencies, counteract this trend. The barrier limits
prevent small parties from obtaining equalization mandates.
This can have major consequences.
When the Left reduced its turnover from 5.9 (in 2005) to
3.9 per cent in 2009, and thus came below the barrier, they
lost eight of their ten parliamentary representatives. At
the 2013 election, SV was in danger of losing most of its
mandates, but eventually achieved a support just above the
barricade - giving the party seven seats.
The electoral system also affects the composition of the
government. The usual form of government in Norway is
coalition governments, where several parties come together
to form a government. Both majority and minority governments
From 2005 to 2013, Norway had a coalition government with
a majority in the Storting, consisting of the Labor Party,
the Socialist Left Party and the Center Party. Before that,
there had been almost 20 years of various minority
governments. The 2013 elections also gave the country a
coalition government. On this occasion, the Solberg
Government was formed, a minority government of the Right
and the Progress Party. Following the elections in 2017,
this government was seated, and in 2018 expanded with the
participation of the Left. In 2018, the Christian People's
Party also joined this government, which then went on to
become a majority government.
In countries with majority voting, such as the United
Kingdom and the United States, it is more common for fewer
parties to be represented in the National Assembly.
One-party governments are also more common.
There are restrictions on how and how far the people's
representatives can exercise authority. These limitations
are enshrined in the Constitution, and this means that
Norway is referred to both as a rule of law and as a
constitutional, or liberal, democracy.
The elected officials primarily exercise their authority
by making laws that apply to everyone and which cannot be
retroactive. The individual's fundamental rights are also
given special protection in the Constitution. Examples of
such rights are freedom of expression, voting rights and the
right to a fair trial.
The principle of power distribution, of which Norway has
a modified version, is also a limitation and clarification
of how power should be exercised.
- The parliament, elected by the people, makes laws
and grants money.
- The government exercises power in accordance with
the laws that the Storting makes.
- The courts, with the Supreme Court as the last
instance, judge in each case. They also have a certain
control that the legislative and executive power follows
the laws they themselves (previously) adopted.
The exercise of political authority is through the
administration. The administration must be an investigative
and implementing body for the really governing bodies, the
Storting and the government.
In practice, the administration is far more than that. It
exerts an independent influence, in many respects a greater
influence than the political bodies. This is because they
prepare the cases that are going up for political
consideration in the government and in the Storting, and
because in many cases the administration has the authority
to supplement laws, passed by the Storting, with
supplementary rules in the form of regulations and
guidelines. The administration consists of ministries,
directorates, agencies and supervisors.
To be able to exercise power, the Norwegian government
depends on the fact that the parliamentary majority does not
express distrust through a vote of no confidence. That is,
people's sovereignty has had a greater influence at the
expense of the principle of power distribution, as
originally formulated. We call this parliamentarism, and
Norway's distinct form is called negative parliamentarism in
political science literature.
Norway is also a hereditary monarchy, in the sense that
the supreme representative of the state is the king, and
that the royal power is inherited, rather than chosen by the
people. Today, the king has primarily a symbolic function as
a ceremonial head and has little real power.
Read more about the principle of power distribution,
parliamentarism, the government, the parliament and the
judiciary in Norway.
Negotiating economy and political actions
In political science, Norway is also referred to as a
corporate system. The corporate pluralism we find in
Norway, however, must not be confused with the state
corporatism we find in, among other fascist states.
In Norway, interest organizations have entered into a
systematic, but often thrilling, collaboration with public
authorities. Particularly central negotiations on wages and
other working conditions, in which employers and trade
unions enter into a tripartite cooperation with the state,
are important examples of corporate or bargaining economy.
In agriculture, too, where agricultural organizations
negotiate with the state on the terms of the industry, is an
example of such bargaining economy.
Non-profit organizations can also influence the policy in
various other ways. In part through informal channels, in
part through " hearings ", that is, public proposals and
reports that are sent to the organizations concerned, and
partly through the organizations participating in public
committees, boards and councils. Organized interests can
also choose to take part in political actions, such as
demonstrations and civil disobedience.
The mass media play a political role first and foremost
by influencing the political agenda. In recent decades, the
mass media has also contributed to a more person-oriented