Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/1396

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Constitution and Government.

I. Central Government.

The Constitution of Norway, called the Grundlov, bears date May 17, 1814, with several modifications passed at various times up to 1898. It vests the legislative power of the realm in the Storthing, or Great Court, the representative of the sovereign people. The King, however, possesses the right of veto over laws passed by the Storthing, but only for a limited period. The royal veto may be exercised twice; but if the same bill pass three Storthings formed by separate and subsequent elections, it becomes the law of the land without the assent of the sovereign. The King has the command of the land and sea forces, and makes all appointments, but, except in a few cases, is not allowed to nominate any but Norwegians to public offices under the crown.

The Storthing assembles every year. New elections take place every three years. The meetings take place suo jure, and not by any writ from the King or the executive. They begin on the first weekday after October 10 each year, and must receive the sanction of the King to sit longer than two months. Every Norwegian citizen of twenty-five years of age (provided that he resides and has resided for five years in the country) is entitled to elect. Under the same conditions citizens thirty years of age, and having resided in Norway for ten years, are qualified to be elected. The mode of election is indirect. Towards the end of every third year the people choose their deputies, at the rate of one to fifty voters in towns, where the election is administered by the magistrate, and one to a hundred in rural sub-districts, where they meet in the parish church under the presidency of the parish minister. The deputies afterwards assemble and elect among themselves, or from among the other qualified voters of the district, the Storthing representatives. Former members of the Council of State can be elected representatives of any district of the Kingdom without regard to their residence. No new election takes place for vacancies, which are filled by the persons already elected for that purpose, or, if not, who received the second largest number of votes. At the election in 1897 on the old franchise, the number of electors was 195,956, or 9.79 per