On Tuesday, 36 of the 169 representatives in Norway’s parliament voted in favour of replacing the country’s monarchy with a republic. It was part of the annual process considering proposals to change the Norwegian constitution. But this vote on whether to retain King Harald and his family isn’t a new thing – every year since 1972 the Socialist Left Party, SV, puts forward a motion on the abolition of the monarchy during the debates on the constitution.
This year’s proposal that Norway should become a republic received support from everyone in the SV (currently 11 representatives) as well as 14 votes from Labour Party members. Six of the Liberal Party’s eight representatives also backed the bill along with two from the Conservative party and one from the Progress Party. The Communist Party and the Green Party each have a single elected member at the parliament – both of them gave their backing to the proposal to abolish the monarchy.
One of those who wants to replace the monarchy with a republic is the Liberal’s Carl Erik Grimstad. Early in the 1990s he worked at the Palace, among other things as secretary of the then Crown Princess Sonja.
The leader of the Labour Party, Jonas Gahr Støre, voted against the proposal to create a republic. He said: “The monarchy has strong popular support in Norway, as is stipulated in the constitution, and as the King exercises his responsibility”. Støre also stated that the monarchy still has solid support in the Labour Party and that he will never lead a party which will bring the monarchy to an end.
In addition, Prime Minister Erna Solberg stated that her government will never abolish the monarchy.
A survey published in 2017 showed that 81% of all Norwegians approved of keeping the monarchy as a form of government while only 15% thought the country should become a republic. The highest level of support for the royals came from the younger Norwegian population. And King Harald, who became monarch in 1991, has said in several interviews that he won’t abdicate.