On Friday, an ordinary Council of State was held in Oslo following the exit of the Progress Party from the Norwegian government. This happened only one day after it became clear that King Harald has been declared healthy after being sick for the past two weeks. Crown Prince Haakon has been regent for the past 14 days and has carried out the first two councils of the year on behalf of his father.
The Progress Party has been in the Norwegian government for six years, two months and 20 days. Now it is over. “There is no basis for continuing in government,” said party leader Siv Jensen on Monday of this week. The decision comes as a result of the other government parties agreeing to release a woman who has been a member of IS back to Norway with her ill five-year-old child. This was the decision that caused the highly critical immigration party to leave the Conservative government. Prime Minister Erna Solberg could then lose her majority. However, the Progress Party has said they will, nevertheless, support Erna Solberg as prime minister to prevent a new socialist government in Norway. Erna Solberg’s conservative government has ruled since 2013.
There were a number of changes that needed royal acceptance. Conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg cut the government by two ministerial posts. This will give the Conservative 11 government ministers in addition to the prime minister’s post, while the Liberals and Christian Democrats will get 4 ministers each. The new government will thus consist of 20 ministers.
The calendar said that King Harald would hold a Council of State on Friday and that he will receive the United Arab Emirates Ambassador, H.E. Mr Abdullah Khalfan Matar S. Al Romaithi, in Farewell Audience. On Monday, King Harald also holds a diplomatic luncheon at the Royal Palace. This became King Harald’s first two tasks after recovering. However, all events that His Majesty will attend are closed to the public. It is not until next Sunday that the King is scheduled to participate as a spectator in the Norwegian Championship in skiing held in Drammen.
The Council of State in Norway is a formal body composed of the most senior government ministers chosen by the Prime Minister, and it functions as the collective decision-making organ constituting the executive branch of the Kingdom of Norway.
With the exception of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who retain their ministerial ranking in their own right, all the other members of the Cabinet concurrently hold the position of “statsråd”, meaning Councillor of State, and that of Chief of the various departments. They are not formally considered ‘ministers’, although they are commonly addressed as such. The Cabinet convenes typically every week, usually on Fridays at 11:00 a.m. at the Royal Palace, Oslo and is presided over by the monarch.