The Storting, or Stortinget, ('the Great Assembly'), is the parliament of Norway, and is located in Oslo. It sits in the Storting Building which was completed in 1866 and was designed by the architect Emil Victor Langlet .
The Storting in its present form was first constituted at Eidsvoll in 1814, although its origins can be traced back to the allting or common assemblies as early as the 9th century. The alltings were localised assemblies charged with discussing legal and political matters. These gradually were formalised so that the tings, or assemblies, grew into regionalised meetings and acquired backing and authority from the crown, even to the extent that on occasions they were instrumental in effecting change in the monarchy itself.
As Norway became unified as a geopolitical entity in the 10th century the lagtings were established as superior regional assemblies. The archaic regional assemblies, the Frostating, the Gulating and the Eidsivating were amalgamated and the corpus of law was setdown under the command of King Magnus LagabÝte during the mid 13th century. This jurisdiction remained significant until King Frederick III of Denmark and Norway proclaimed absolute monarchy in 1660; this was ratified by the passage of the King Act of 1665 , and this became the constitution of the Union of Denmark and Norway and remained so until 1814 and the foundation of the Storting.
The number of seats in the Storting has varied: from 1882 there were 114 seats, from 1903 117, from 1906 123, from 1918 126, from 1921 150, from 1973 155, from 1985 157, from 1989 165 and from 2005 there will be 169 seats.
Officially, the Storting is unicameral, but elects a quarter of its membership to form an upper house or Lagting, with the remaining three quarters forming the Odelsting or lower house. Bills are submitted by the Government to the Odelsting first, having been considered by a Standing Committee, and subject to hearings. Only then are they sent to the Lagting for review or revision. If the Odelsting approves the Lagting amendments, then the bill is signed into law by the King. If it does not, then the bill returns to the Lagting. If still no agreement is reached, the Odelsting submits the bill to a plenary session of the Storting. In order to be passed, the bill must have the approval of two-thirds majority of the plenary session.
A similar system operated in Iceland until 1991.
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04