Norway has just seen its parliament vote on keeping the monarchy, causing much debate and some controversy. The proposal to establish a republic in Norway came from the country’s sitting Minister of Culture, who only a year ago took an oath on loyalty to the King.
The proposal fell with 134 votes in favour of the monarchy against 35 votes in favour of a republic. Several opinion polls have consistently shown that there is an overwhelming majority among Norwegians to keep the monarchy. Some polls have shown up to 82% support for the Norwegian royal family in the recent years.
Nevertheless, 35 members of the Norwegian parliament voted to remove the royal house. This is one less than the last time the proposal was up for debate two years ago.
Of the 35 who voted to abolish the monarchy, only one has, since the proposal was submitted, sworn obedience and loyalty to the King. This is Minister of Culture Anette Trettebergstuen. To become a minister, the appointee has to swear an oath or give assurance to the King.
In order to take part in a ministerial meeting, a formal oath must be taken, based on section 21 of the Norwegian Constitution. The traditional oath has the following wording: “I promise and swear, to show obedience and fidelity to the Constitution and the King, so help me God Almighty and Omniscient.”
Following the strong condemnation by the majority of the Norwegian population, the Minister of Culture issued the following statement: “I love the Norwegian royal family and think it is great to meet the King and the Crown Prince every Friday. Nevertheless, I am in principle a Republican, and believe power should not be inherited”.
Leaders within both the Conservative Party and the Labour Party have gone public and criticized the minister and those who voted to abolish the monarchy. There have been strong popular reactions and protests against the vote.