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King Harald holds audiences while Norway changes political leadership

Oskar Aanmoen/Royal Central

In September, the Kingdom of Norway held an ordinary parliamentary election that changed the political situation. The conservative government that has led the kingdom for eight years lost its majority, and the Centre Party and the Labour Party became larger than the conservative and liberal wings.

This week, King Harald held the official opening of the parliament (Storting) and declared that political decisions can be made again. Queen Sonja and Crown Prince Haakon also took part in the ceremony that marks the beginning of the Storting’s work and the process of changing the government. This is a process in which the King has an important role.

On Tuesday, 12 October, three essential meetings were held at the Royal Palace in Oslo. The Norwegian press’s eyes were on the palace in Oslo early that morning. At a quarter past nine, outgoing Prime Minister Erna Solberg arrived at the palace, where she formally asked the King for permission to resign as Prime Minister. At the same time, she recommended the King turn to party leader Jonas G. Støre for the Labour Party to form the basis for a new Norwegian government. According to old tradition, the King issued a notice to summon Støre to an audience.

The Prime Minister then left the palace and returned at 1 pm, and the very last Council of State with the conservative government was held at the palace with King Harald and Crown Prince Haakon present. An hour later, party leader Støre arrived at the palace.

The King then asked for a new government, and Støre accepted the King’s request. The new government will be presented in a new audience with King Harald on Thursday. Only when the new government is presented to the King and has His Majesty’s approval does it take over from the old government.

According to the Norwegian constitution, Norwegian ministers are the King’s advisers, and the government governs the country on behalf of the monarch.

About author

Senior Europe Correspondent Oskar Aanmoen has a master in military and political history of the Nordic countries. He has written six books on historical subjects and more than 1.500 articles for Royal Central. He has also interview both Serbian and Norwegian royals. Aanmoen is based in Oslo, Norway.