Religion Requirement Will not Determine the Cabinet in Norway

The requirement that at least half of the members of the government have to be a member of The Norwegian Church has been removed with the constitutional amendment in May last year.

According to Dagen’s report, membership requirement has caused problems in Norwegian political history several times. When Kåre Willoch formed government in 1981, he wanted to appoint Lars Roar Langslet as church and education minister but it was impossible because Langslet was a Catholic. 

Another former prime minister Kjell Magne Bondevik faced the same problem when several of the candidates were members of the Free Churches. Jens Stoltenberg were also challenged in terms of membership requirement when several cabinet posts were withdrawn by National Church.

But with the recent change, the incoming prime Minister Erna Solberg will not have to think about this requirement while choosing her candidates.

Ecumenical Council 

Ecumenical Council  was the supreme governing body of the Norwegian Church and consisted of the members of the government belonging to the church. Until recently, at least half of the members of the government were supposed to belong to the Norwegian Church. The Constitution stated that the Evangelical-Lutheran religion is the State Public Religion. As long as the section concerned, to bishops and deans in the Norwegian Church were appointed by the King in the council. Ecumenical Council was removed after the constitutional amendment on 21 May 2012, and the appointment of deans and bishops are now attributed by Church Council.

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