The Storting (Stortinget, literally "the Great Thing/Assembly") is the Norwegian Parliament, and is located in the capital city Oslo. It sits in the Storting building which was completed in 1866 and was designed by the Swedish architect Emil Victor Langlet.
As Norway became unified as a geopolitical entity in the 10th century the lagtings were established as superior regional assemblies. The archaic regional assemblies, the Frostating, the Gulating, the Eidsivating and the Borgarting were amalgamated and the corpus of law was setdown under the command of King Magnus Lagabøte during the mid 13th century. This jurisdiction remained significant until King Frederick III of Denmark and Norway proclaimed absolute monarchy in 1660; this was ratified by the passage of the King Act of 1665, and this became the constitution of the Union of Denmark and Norway and remained so until 1814 and the foundation of the Storting.
The number of seats in the Storting has varied: from 1882 there were 114 seats, from 1903 117, from 1906 123, from 1918 126, from 1921 150, from 1973 155, from 1985 157, from 1989 165 and from 2005 169 seats.
The Storting is unicameral, but is divided into two departments in legislative matters. After elections the Storting elects a quarter of its membership to form the Lagting a sort of "upper house", with the remaining three quarters forming the Odelsting or "lower house". The division is also used on very rare occasions in cases of impeachment. The original idea in 1814 was probably to have the Lagting act as an actual upper house, and the senior and more experienced members of the Storting were placed here. Today, however, the composition of the Lagting closely follows that of the Odelsting so that there is very little that differentiates them, and the passage of a bill in the Lagting is mostly a formality. Bills are submitted by the Government to the Odelsting or by a member of the Odelsting (members of the Lagting may not propose legislation by themselves). A Standing Committee, with members from both the Odelsting and Lagting, then considers the bill, and in some cases hearings are held. If passed by the Odelsting, the bill is sent to the Lagting for review or revision. Most bills are passed unamended by the Lagting and are then sent directly to the King for assent. Today royal assent is also mostly a formality.
If the Lagting amends the Odelsting's decision, the bill is sent back to the Odelsting. If the Odelsting approves the Lagting's amendments, the bill is signed into law by the King. If it does not, then the bill returns to the Lagting. If the Lagting still proposes amendments, the bill is submitted a plenary session of the Storting. In order to be passed, the bill must then have the approval of a two-thirds majority of the plenary session. In all other cases a simple majority suffices.
Three days must pass between each time a department votes on a bill.
A proposal to amend the constitution and abolish the system of Odelsting and Lagting was introduced in 2004 and was passed by the Storting on February 20, 2007 (159–1 with nine absentees). It will take effect with the newly elected Storting in 2009.
In all other cases, such as taxes and appropriations, the Storting meets in plenary sessions.
The Storting's Presidium is chaired by the President of the Storting and consists of the Presidents and Vice Presidents of the Storting, the Lagting and the Odelsting.
The current members are: