Overview of Oslo

Politics of Oslo

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Officially named the Kingdom of Norway, Oslo is the capital and seat of national government. Government offices are centered on the Regjeringskvartale. National Parliament, known as the Storting, is also in the vicinity.

National elections are held in which direct voting from party-lists proportional representation selects members of the Storting. There are currently 169 Members of Parliament. There is multi-party system, with the Norwegian Labour Party and Conservative Party being the primary parties.

The building offers free guided tours in English and Norwegian lasting about 45 minutes. If you are interested in the tour, wait outside the back door of the Parliament. There is a limit of 30 people per tour, so come at least 10 minutes prior to the start of a tour.

The Constitution of Norway, adopted on May 17th, 1814 was inspired by the United States Declaration of Independence (1776) and French revolution (1798). It is Norway's supreme legal document and defines their government structure. Norway is a unitary constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government. The King of Norway, Harald V, is the head of state and the Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg, is the head of government. Power is separated between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government.

Norway is a founding member of the United Nations, NATO and the Council of Europe. It is not, however, a member of the European Union (EU). Nevertheless, Norway follows most of the guidelines set out by the EU because of its membership in the European Economic Area (EEA).

Norway has been involved in mediating between Israel and Palestinian's as the two sides have held meetings in Oslo known as the Oslo Accords. Unfortunately, the meetings have been unsuccessful in resolving the issues between the two countries.

Individual rights arrived much earlier then in other parts of the world. In 1898, all men were granted universal suffrage. In 1913, women were granted suffrage. In 1854, women were given the right to inherit property and in 1863 unmarried women were declared an independent person, not a "minor". Jobs are very well integrated between the sex's with positions in the military and politics being held by both men and women. In 1981, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland served as the first female prime minister, as well as the youngest at age 49.
In 1993 Norway became the second country to legalize civil union partnerships for same-sex couples and was the sixth to legalize marriage equality on January 1, 2009.


Oslo is both a municipality and a county of Norway. It is represented in the Storting by seventeen members of differing parties.

The City Council, or Bystyret, is of the utmost authority within Oslo. Representatives are popularly elected every four years. Members are usually from the Conservative Party and the Progress Party. The Council also has five standing committees: Health and Social Welfare; Education and Cultural Affairs; Urban Development; Transport and Environmental Affairs; and Finance.

The Byradet is the executive branch and consists of the Governing mayor (byradsleder)) and currently seven vice mayors (byrader). The current Governing mayor is Richard Fabian Stang from the Conservative party. He is also head of the City Council and the highest ranking representative of the city.

The city is divided into fifteen boroughs (bydeler). Each is semi-independent and autonomous. Each borough covers the local services not overseen by the City Council, such as social services, basic healthcare, and kindergartens.

Oslo City Hall (Oslo rafadhus) is the city's administrative body and where the City Council meets. It is not only a political office, but a piece of Norwegian art and history as it has been decorated by great Norwegian artists from the period 1900-1950. Public tours are offered every day in June, July and August, as well as Mondays and Wednesdays the rest of the year. For more information, contact
Tel: 0 21 80

Update 16/08/2010

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