Norwegian constitution: past and present

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Norwegian constitution: past and present
Norwegian constitution: past and present

Culture, development, a country's place in the modern world are determined not only by its current state and position, but also by the influence that history has had. Significant historical events that determine the development of Norway are independence from Denmark and the creation of the Norwegian constitution.

Norway's adoption of the main document of the state has created a truly democratic culture, emphasizing the right to vote and the end of hereditary power. Although the basic law of the kingdom has been changed since its inception in 1814, it remains a prerequisite for a democratic political climate in this country.

Consequences of revolutions

adoption of the constitution

Like many other major European documents adopted in Europe between 1789 and 1814, Norway's 1814 constitution was more or less revolutionary.

The independence of the kingdom was the result of the end of the Napoleonic Wars.

The main document of the country was conditioned by the adoptionthe US Declaration of Independence of 1776 and the French Revolution of 1789. The Norwegian constitution, written by Christian Magnus Falsen and Johan Gunder Adler, was also influenced by Spain's 1812 main document.

Compared to many other constitutions adopted in 1787-1814, the Norwegian one can be described as "moderately revolutionary".

Sustainability of the Norwegian constitution

The stability of the constitution

What makes the 1814 constitution truly special is that it has never been repealed in two centuries.

Almost all the constitutions adopted in Europe during those revolutionary years were annulled or changed dramatically. Only the main documents of Norway and the US remained more or less intact.

Changes to the constitution

Constitutional amendments

Strictly speaking, the constitution of Norway, as it was adopted in Eidsvoll on May 17, 1814, did not last long. On November 4, 1814, the Storting voted to amend the six-month constitution.

In connection with these amendments, Norway was allowed to create its own national bank - the Bank of Norway. The Storting also voted that the Norwegian language should continue to be used in the constitution and government documents. This Norwegian constitution of 4 November 1814 prevailed for much of the 19th century.

The Norwegian constitution of 1814 was a product of its time. As theNorwegian democracy, some parts of it began to look more and more outdated. For example, the king originally had the power to appoint councillors, who were accountable only to him, and could not be chosen from members of the Norwegian Parliament. With the establishment of parliamentarism in 1884, the council was effectively elected by general election.

In the spring of 2012, the Storting adopted an important amendment to the constitution - on the separation of church and state. Formally, this made Norway a secular state with no official religion, while the Church of Norway is still mentioned in the constitution.


Modern Norway

The current text of the document (as amended in 2018) consists of 121 articles grouped into chapters A through F.

The basic law of the kingdom is set out in Norwegian, in addition, there are copies in some European languages. The Norwegian constitution in Russian can also be found if desired.

Chapter A consists of articles 1 and 2, which state that Norway is a free, independent, indivisible kingdom with a limited and hereditary monarchy. The values ​​of the state are "Christian and humanistic heritage, democracy and the rule of law and human rights".

Chapter B is dedicated to the King (or Queen), the Royal Family, the Council of State and the Church of Norway. It consists of Articles 3-48.

Chapter C (Articles 49-85) deals with the Storting and citizens' rights.

Legislative power belongs to the Storting, which consists ofone chamber of 169 members who are elected every four years in free and secret elections. All citizens of the state aged 18 and over have the right to vote. Article 50 guarantees this right to men and women.

Chapter D (articles 86-91) is devoted to the judicial system.

Chapter E (Articles 92-113) sets out various human rights.

Chapter F and constitutional amendment algorithm

Chapter F (articles 114-121) contains various other provisions, including amending the constitution.

According to Article 121, amendments to the constitution may be proposed by the first, second or third annual meeting of the Storting after a general election. If passed by a two-thirds vote of Parliament, the amendment must be certified by the King and the Secretary of the Storting and published. At the same time, the amendment should not go against the principles enshrined in the constitution, or "change the spirit of the constitution."

In the end, it is worth noting that Norway's modern constitution exhibits a curious mixture of radical and traditional values. This document provides for the division of power into the executive, legislative and judicial branches. I would also like to draw attention to the availability of the basic law of the kingdom, because it is presented in several European languages: today, on the Internet, you can find a translation of the Norwegian constitution into Russian and many other languages.

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