The Constitution of the Kingdom of Norway

The Constitution, as laid down on 17 May 1814 by the Constituent Assembly at Eidsvoll (with subsequent amendments, the most recent being of 23 July 1995).

A. Form of government and religion

Article 1

The Kingdom of Norway is a free, independent, indivisible and inalienable Realm. Its form of government is a limited and hereditary monarchy.

Article 2

All inhabitants of the Realm shall have the right to free exercise of their religion.

The Evangelical-Lutheran religion shall remain the official religion of the State. The inhabitants professing it are bound to bring up their children in the same.

B. The Executive Power, the King and the Royal Family

Article 3

The Executive Power is vested in the King, or in the Queen if she has succeeded to the Crown pursuant to the provisions of Article 6 or Article 7 or Article 48 of this Constitution. When the Executive Power is thus vested in the Queen, she has all the rights and obligations which pursuant to this Constitution and the Law of the Land are possessed by the King.

Article 4

The King shall at all times profess the Evangelical-Lutheran religion, and uphold and protect the same.

Article 5

The King's person is sacred; he cannot be censured or accused. The responsibility rests with his Council.

Article 6

The order of succession is lineal, so that only a child born in lawful wedlock of the Queen or King, or of one who is herself or himself entitled to the succession may succeed, and so that the nearest line shall take precedence over the more remote and the elder in the line over the younger.

An unborn child shall also be included among those entitled to the succession and shall immediately take her or his proper place in the line of succession as soon as she or he is born into the world.

The right of succession shall not, however, belong to any person who is not born in the direct line of descent from the last reigning Queen or King or a sister or brother thereof, or is herself or himself a sister or brother thereof.

When a Princess or Prince entitled to succeed to the Crown of Norway is born, her or his name and time of birth shall be notified to the first Storting in session and be entered in the record of its proceedings.

For those born before the year 1971, Article 6 of the Constitution as it was passed on 18 November 1905 shall, however, apply. For those born before the year 1990 it shall nevertheless be the case that a male shall take precedence over a female.

Article 7

If there is no Princess or Prince entitled to the succession, the King may propose his successor to the Storting, which has the right to make the choice if the King's proposal is not accepted.

Article 8

The age of majority of the King shall be laid down by law.

As soon as the King has attained the age prescribed by law, he shall make a public declaration that he is of age.

Article 9

As soon as the King, being of age, accedes to the government, he shall take the following oath before the Storting: "I promise and swear that I will govern the Kingdom of Norway in accordance with its Constitution and Laws; so help me God, the Almighty and Omniscient."

If the Storting is not in session at the time, the oath shall be made in writing in the Council of State and be repeated solemnly by the King at the first subsequent Storting.

Article 10

(Repealed)

Article 11

The King shall reside in the Realm and may not, without the consent of the Storting, remain outside the Realm for more than six months at a time, otherwise he shall have forfeited, for his person, the right to the Crown.

The King may not accept any other crown or government without the consent of the Storting, for which two thirds of the votes are required.

Article 12

The King himself chooses a Council from among Norwegian citizens who are entitled to vote. This Council shall consist of a Prime Minister and at least seven other Members.

More than half the number of the Members of the Council of State shall profess the official religion of the State.

The King apportions the business among the Members of the Council of State, as he deems appropriate. Under extraordinary circumstances,besides the ordinary Members of the Council of State, the King may summon other Norwegian citizens, although no Members of the Storting, to take a seat in the Council of State.

Husband and wife, parent and child or two siblings may never sit at the same time in the Council of State.

Article 13

During his travels within the Realm, the King may delegate the administration of the Realm to the Council of State. The Council of State shall conduct the government in the King's name and on his behalf. It shall scrupulously observe the provisions of this Constitution, as well as such particular directives in conformity therewith as the King may instruct.

The matters of business shall be decided by voting, where in the event of the votes being equal, the Prime Minister, or in his absence the highest-ranking Member of the Council of State who is present, shall have two votes.

The Council of State shall make a report to the King on matters of business which it thus decides.

Article 14

The King may appoint State Secretaries to assist Members of the Council of State with their duties outside the Council of State. Each State Secretary shall act on behalf of the Member of the Council of State to whom he is attached to the extent determined by that Member.

Article 15

(Repealed)

Article 16

The King ordains all public church services and public worship, all meetings and assemblies dealing with religious matters, and ensures that public teachers of religion follow the norms prescribed for them.

Article 17

The King may issue and repeal ordinances relating to commerce, customs tariffs, all economic sectors and the police; although these must not conflict with the Constitution or with the laws passed by the Storting (as hereinafter prescribed in Articles 77, 78 and 79). They shall remain in force provisionally until the next Storting.

Article 18

As a general rule the King shall provide for the collection of the taxes and duties imposed by the Storting.

Article 19

The King shall ensure that the properties and prerogatives of the State are utilized and administered in the manner determined by the Storting and in the best interests of the general public.

Article 20

The King shall have the right in the Council of State to pardon criminals after sentence has been passed. The criminal shall have the choice of accepting the King's pardon or submitting to the penalty imposed.

In proceedings which the Odelsting causes to be brought before the Court of Impeachment, no pardon other than deliverance from the death penalty may be granted.

Article 21

The King shall choose and appoint, after consultation with his Council of State, all senior civil, ecclesiastical and military officials. Before the appointment is made, such officials shall swear or, if by law exempted from taking the oath, solemnly declare obedience and allegiance to the Constitution and the King, although senior officials who are not Norwegian nationals may by law be exempted from this duty. The Royal Princes must not hold senior civil offices.

Article 22

The Prime Minister and the other Members of the Council of State, together with the State Secretaries, may be dismissed by the King without any prior court judgment, after he has heard the opinion of the Council of State on the subject. The same applies to senior officials employed in government offices or in the diplomatic or consular service, to the highest-ranking civil and ecclesiastical officials, commanders of regiments and other military formations, commandants of forts and officers commanding warships. Whether pensions should be granted to senior officials thus dismissed shall be determined by the next Storting. In the interval they shall receive two thirds of their previous pay.

Other senior officials may only be suspended by the King, and must then without delay be charged before the Courts, but they may not, except by court judgment, be dismissed nor, against their will, transferred.

All senior officials may, without a prior court judgment, be discharged from office upon attaining the statutory age limit.

Article 23

The King may bestow orders upon whomever he pleases, as a reward for distinguished services, and such orders must be publicly announced, but no rank or title other than that attached to any office. The order exempts no one from the common duties and burdens of citizens, nor does it carry with it any preferential admission to senior official posts in the State. Senior officials honourably discharged from office retain the title and rank of their office. This does not apply, however, to Members of the Council of State or the State Secretaries.

No personal, or mixed, hereditary privileges may henceforth be granted to anyone.

Article 24

The King chooses and dismisses, at his own discretion, his Royal Household and Court Officials.

Article 25

The King is Commander-in-Chief of the land and naval forces of the Realm. These forces may not be increased or reduced without the consent of the Storting. They may not be transferred to the service of foreign powers, nor may the military forces of any foreign power, except auxiliary forces assisting against hostile attack, be brought into the Realm without the consent of the Storting.

The territorial army and the other troops which cannot be classed as troops of the line must never, without the consent of the Storting, be employed outside the borders of the Realm.

Article 26

The King has the right to call up troops, to engage in hostilities in defence of the Realm and to make peace, to conclude and denounce conventions, to send and to receive diplomatic envoys.

Treaties on matters of special importance, and, in all cases, treaties whose implementation, according to the Constitution, necessitates a new law or a decision by the Storting, are not binding until the Storting has given its consent thereto.

Article 27

All Members of the Council of State shall, unless lawfully absent, attend the Council of State and no decision may be adopted there unless more than half the number of members are present.

A Member of the Council of State who does not profess the official religion of the State shall not take part in proceedings on matters which concern the State Church.

Article 28

Proposals regarding appointments to senior official posts and other matters of importance shall be presented in the Council of State by the Member under whose department they come, and such matters shall be dealt with by him in accordance with the decision adopted in the Council of State. However, matters strictly relating to military command may, to the extent determined by the King, be excepted from proceedings in the Council of State.

Article 29

If a Member of the Council of State is lawfully prevented from attending the meeting and from presenting the matters coming under his department, these may be presented by another member temporarily appointed by the King for the purpose.

If so many Members are lawfully prevented from attending that not more than half of the stipulated number are present, the requisite number of other men or women shall be temporarily appointed to take a seat in the Council of State.

Article 30

All the proceedings of the Council of State shall be entered in its records. Diplomatic matters which the Council of State decides to keep secret shall be entered in a special record. The same applies to military command matters which the Council of State decides to keep secret.

Everyone who has a seat in the Council of State has the duty frankly to express his opinion, to which the King is bound to listen. But it rests with the King to make a decision according to his own judgment.

If any Member of the Council of State is of the opinion that the King's decision conflicts with the form of government or the laws of the Realm, or is clearly prejudicial to the Realm, it is his duty to make strong remonstrances against it, as well as to have his opinion entered in the records. A member who has not thus protested is deemed to have been in agreement with the King, and shall be answerable in such manner as may be subsequently decided, and may be impeached by the Odelsting before the Court of Impeachment.

Article 31

All decisions drawn up by the King shall, in order to become valid, be countersigned. The decisions relating to military command are countersigned by the person who has presented the matter, while other decisions are countersigned by the Prime Minister or, if he has not been present, by the highest-ranking Member of the Council of State present.

Article 32

The decisions adopted by the Government during the King's absence shall be drawn up in the King's name and be signed by the Council of State.

Article 33

(Repealed)

Article 34

The King shall make provisions concerning titles for those who are entitled to succeed to the Crown.

Article 35

As soon as the heir to the Throne has completed her or his eighteenth year, she or he is entitled to take a seat in the Council of State, although without a vote or responsibility.

Article 36

A Princess or Prince entitled to succeed to the Crown of Norway may not marry without the consent of the King. Nor may she or he accept any other crown or government without the consent of the King and the Storting; for the consent of the Storting two thirds of the votes are required.

If she or he acts contrary to this rule, they and their descendants forfeit their right to the Throne of Norway.

Article 37

The Royal Princes and Princesses shall not personally be answerable to anyone other than the King, or whomever he decrees to sit in judgment on them.

Article 38

(Repealed)

Article 39

If the King dies and the heir to the Throne is still under age, the Council of State shall immediately summon the Storting.

Article 40

Until the Storting has assembled and made provisions for the government during the minority of the King, the Council of State shall be responsible for the administration of the Realm in accordance with the Constitution.

Article 41

If the King is absent from the Realm unless commanding in the field, or if he is so ill that he cannot attend to the government, the person next entitled to succeed to the Throne shall, provided that he has attained the age stipulated for the King's majority, conduct the government as the temporary executor of the Royal Powers. If this is not the case, the Council of State will conduct the administration of the Realm.

Article 42

(Repealed)

Article 43

The choice of trustees to conduct the government on behalf of the King during his minority shall be undertaken by the Storting.

Article 44

The Princess or Prince who, in the cases mentioned in Article 41, conducts the government shall make the following oath in writing before the Storting: "I promise and swear that I will conduct the government in accordance with the Constitution and the Laws, so help me God, the Almighty and Omniscient".

If the Storting is not in session at the time, the oath shall be made in the Council of State and later be presented to the next Storting.

The Princess or Prince who has once made the oath shall not repeat it later.

Article 45

As soon as their conduct of the government ceases, the trustees shall submit to the King and the Storting an account of the same.

Article 46

If the persons concerned fail to summon the Storting immediately in accordance with Article 39, it becomes the unconditional duty of the Supreme Court, as soon as four weeks have elapsed, to arrange for the Storting to be summoned.

Article 47

The supervision of the education of the King during his minority should, if both his parents are dead and neither of them has left any written directions thereon, be determined by the Storting.

Article 48

If the Royal Line has died out, and no successor to the Throne has been designated, then a new Queen or King shall be chosen by the Storting. Meanwhile, the Executive Power shall be exercised in accordance with Article 40.

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