Democracy and Welfare Society

Parliament and government


Stortingsbygningen - © Stortingsarkivet/ foto: Teigens fotoatelier as.
Norway’s Parliament is called Stortinget. There are 169 representatives in Parliament, who are elected by the people to a four-year term. They represent different political parties. Parliament is the highest branch of government in Norway. Parliament’s most important tasks:

  • Passing new laws and revising old laws
  • Passing the state budget
  • Monitoring the government and public administration
  • Debating political issues and large-scale projects

Stortingssalen - © Stortingsarkivet/ foto: Teigens fotoatelier as.

Political debates in Parliament are open to the public. Anyone who wishes to may attend these political debates. But the public does not have the right to talk or offer an opinion on issues in Parliament. Questions can be sent to parliamentary representatives by e-mail or regular mail. The e-mail addresses for all representatives and more information can be found at


After a general election, one or more parties form a new government. The government consists of cabinet ministers (political leaders for each ministry) and a prime minister. One of the tasks of the government is to propose new laws and make changes to existing laws, but it is Parliament that passes the laws and legislative amendments.

The government is responsible for ensuring that policies passed by Parliament are carried out in practice. The government also makes proposals for the state budget every year. The government meets with the king every Friday. This is when the cabinet ministers inform the king about various political matters. These meetings are called ‘cabinet meetings’. The king has very little political power, but these meetings are important all the same.

When several parties collaborate to form a government, it is called a coalition government. If the party or parties in the government together hold a majority in Parliament, we call this a majority rule. The opposite is called a minority government, which means that the party or parties forming the government have less than half the representatives in Parliament. In recent years, all governments in Norway have been coalition governments.

Separation of powers principle:

The principle of separation of powers means that the Storting, the Government and the Courts have shared powers between them.


Separation of powers principle

The separation of powers principle divides power between three independent branches of government:

  • A legislative branch: – Parliament, which passes laws.
  • An executive branch: – The government, which proposes laws and makes sure they are implemented and sustained.
  • A judicial branch: – Courts of law that pass judgement in concrete cases.