The term government is used in everyday language in two senses: the prime minister and the ministers gathered for meetings as the Council of State, presided over by the King, and the ministers gathered for government conferences, chaired by the prime minister.
The Constitution and constitutional practice determine which matters must be formally decided in the Council of State presided over by the King, and which may be decided by the competent minister. In both cases the government conference is the main forum for discussing important policy matters before formal decisions are taken.
Members of Government
According to the Constitution, the King appoints the members of government (generally known as ministers) in the Council of State and determines which ministry they are to head.
The ministerial structure is continually modified in that areas of responsibility are transferred between ministries and ministries abolished and/or established. As of October 2009, there are 17 ministries, plus the Office of the Prime Minister, while the Government consists of the prime minister and 19 ministers.
Meetings of the Norwegian Council of State are generally held on Fridays at 11:00 at the Royal Palace in Oslo.
Government conferences in Norway are generally held once a week, usually on Thursdays, at the Office of the Prime Minister. The first item on the agenda is preparations for the meeting of the Council of State on Friday.
A government must have its basis in the Norwegian Parliament, the Storting. The Storting majority thus has a decisive influence on the formation and the dismissal governments.
According to the Constitution, which was adopted in 1814, Norway is a monarchy in which the power is divided between three branches: a legislative branch which is also responsible for appropriations, the Storting; an executive branch, the Government; and a judicial branch, the courts.The Government is formed by the party/parties that have a majority of the seats in the Storting or constitute a minority capable of governing. Thus the Government is indirectly selected by the electorate.