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Norway: Four Different Constitutional Amendment Proposals in Parliament

(June 27, 2012) At present there are four proposed amendments to the Norwegian Constitution in the initial stage of consideration by the Storting, Norway's parliament. The proposals have to do with:

  • strengthening the role of parliament in decisions to send troops abroad and making those decisions more transparent, affecting section 25 (Grunnlovsforslag 3 (2011-2012) (Midlertidig) [Constitutional Proposal 3 (2011-2012) (Temporary)], Doc. 12:3 (2011-2012) (last updated June 14, 2012) [machine translation consulted]); Wendy Zeldin, Norway – Proposed Constitutional Amendment to Tighten Parliamentary Control over Foreign Deployment of Armed Forces, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR (June 26, 2012);
  • voting rights, affecting sections 12, 50, and 61 (in particular, the lowering of the voting age to 16, citing a chart showing the gradual lowering of the age from 25 to the current 18 since 1898, but specifying a minimum age of 18 for eligibility to be chosen for the King's Council or be elected as a representative) (Grunnlovsforslag 4 (2011-2012) (Midlertidig), Doc. 12:4 (2011-2012) (June 14, 2012), Stortinget website [machine translation consulted]);
  • protection of soil resources, affecting section 110b, on environmental protection in general (Grunnlovsforslag 2 (2011-2012) (Midlertidig), Doc. 12:2 (2011-2012) (June 4, 2012), Stortinget website [machine translation consulted]); and
  • exclusion of the possibility of Members of Parliament being selected to serve simultaneously as state secretaries, affecting section 14 (Grunnlovsforslag 1 (2011–2012) (Midlertidig), Doc. 12:1 (2011-2012) (Jan. 31, 2012), Stortinget website [machine translation consulted].)

State secretaries are appointed to serve in government ministries by the King. Their positions are political posts that have been gradually introduced since 1947. (Norwegian Ministry of Transport and Communications, State Secretaries 1947-, GOVERNMENT.NO (last visited June 25, 2012).)

The most recently adopted constitutional amendment introduces separation between church and state. (Constance A. Johnson, Norway: Change in Church/State Relations, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR (June 6, 2012).)