Today the Norwegian Parliament begins its final week of sittings before September’s general election. None of the six members of the Presidium are candidates for re-election to Parliament and on Thursday its two most senior members looked back on their political careers in the newspapers.
In Dagsavisen the Speaker of Parliament, Thorbjørn Jagland (Labour Party), summarised his own career as party secretary, party leader, prime minister, leader of the committee on foreign affairs, foreign minister and speaker of Parliament. Mr Jagland is now a candidate for the position as Secretary-General of the Council of Europe – a decision is expected on 23 June.
The Vice-Speaker, Carl I. Hagen (Progress Party), did the same in an interview with Dagbladet.
When the new Parliament convenes on 1 October it will be as unicameral assembly. Under the present semi-bicameral system there are a speaker and a vice-speaker of Parliament itself as well as for each of the two “chambers”, the Lagting and the Odelsting. Last Wednesday Parliament decided that from October there will also be six members of the Presidium – one speaker and five vice-speakers, ranked from first vice-speaker to fifth vice-speaker. Until now the Speaker and the Vice-Speaker have presided over parliamentary sittings every second month; in the future the Speaker will preside every month, with one of the five vice-speakers stepping in when he or she is unable to do so. Another change is that it will no longer be optional for the Speaker and Vice-Speaker to be member of one of the standing committees – in future the Speaker will not be so, while the Vice-Speakers will.