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16th Landsting
Coat of arms or logo
Herre Højttaler (Lord High Speaker)
Einar, Herren Heyerdahl
Since November 15, 2017
Seats 75
Landsting composition.png
Political groups
Joint committees
14 committees
39 subcommittees
By royal appointment
Last election
Meeting place
Landsting 01.jpg
Landstingbygningen, Christiania

The Landsting is the upper house (overhuset) of the Unionsparlamentet. It meets in Landstingbygningen (Landsting Building), in the city of Christiania.

Unlike the elected Storting, all members of the Landsting (excluding Arvelige Jævnaldrende elected among themselves and the Høj Kongelige Embedsmænd who are ex officio members) are appointed. The membership of the Landsting is drawn from the peerage and is made up of Herrer Åndelig (Lords Spiritual) and Herrer Temporal (Lords Temporal). The Herrer Åndelig are the fourteen most senior bishops of Den Skandinaviske Kirke (Church of Skandinavia). Of the Herrer Temporal, the majority are the forty one Arvelige Jævnaldrende (Hereditary Peers) sitting either by hereditary right or by being elected by their fellow hereditary peers. There are also fourteen Livets Jævnaldrende (life peers) who are appointed by the Monark and six Høj Kongelige Embedsmænd.

While the Storting has a defined 349-seat membership, the number of members in the Landsting is not fixed. There are currently 75 sitting Herrer.

Landsting scrutinises bills that have been approved by the Storting. It regularly reviews and amends Bills from the Storting. While it is unable to prevent Bills passing into law, except in certain limited circumstances, it can delay Bills until two years and force the Storting to reconsider their decisions. In this capacity, the Landsting acts as a check on the Storting, and this chek is independent from any electoral process, from fads, short-term solutions and partisan political decisions that seek no more than immediate or particular interest. Bills can be introduced into either the Landsting or the Storting. While members of the Landsting may also take on roles as government ministers, high-ranking officials such as cabinet ministers are usually drawn from the Storting. The Landsting has its own support services, separate from the Storting, including the Landsting Library.

Membership[edit | edit source]

Herrer Åndelig[edit | edit source]

Members of the Landsting who sit by virtue of their ecclesiastical offices are known as Herrer Åndelig (Lords Spiritual). The Herrer Åndelig can be Church's archbishops, bishops, abbots, and those priors who were entitled to wear a mitre.

The number of Herrer Åndelig are restricted to a number no more than 21, being 14 in the current Landsting. These are the Archbishop of Nidaros, the Archbishop of Christiania, the Archbishop of Stockholm, the Archbishop of Copenhagen, and the longest-serving bishops from other dioceses in Den Skandinaviske Kirke (Church of Kalmar Union).

By custom at least one of the Bishops reads prayers in each legislative day (a role taken by the chaplain in the Storting) and they often speak in debates. Bills and measures related to the Church must be introduced in the Landsting, and the Herrer Åndelig have a key role in these debates.

Herrer Temporal[edit | edit source]

The Herrer Temporal (Lords Temporal) are the largest group seated in the Landsting and, like the Spiritual Lords, they are non partisans. In addition to the Høj Kongelige Embedsmænd (High Royal Officials) , the Herrer Temporal include 41 Arvelige Jævnaldrende (hereditary peers), some of whom sit on their own and others are elected among their peers, and 14 lifetime peers elected by royal appointment.

Qualifications[edit | edit source]

Several different qualifications apply for membership of the Landsting. No person may sit in the Landsting if under the age of 21. Furthermore, only Skandinavia natural-born citizens may sit in the Landsting.

Additionally, some bankruptcy-related restrictions apply to members of the Landsting. A person may not sit if he or she is the subject of a Bankruptcy Restrictions Order. Similarly, a person who is legally incapacitated due to mental problems can not be a member of the Landsting. Anyone found guilty of high treason may not sit in the Landsting forever, unless he or she has received a full pardon from the Monark. Moreover, anyone serving a prison sentence of one year or more is ineligible. Several other disqualifications are codified in the Landsting Disqualification Act 1975.

Removal from House membership[edit | edit source]

Traditionally there was no mechanism by which members could resign or be removed from the Landsting. The Peerage Act, 1961 permitted a person to disclaim their newly inherited peerage (within certain time limits); this meant that such a person could effectively renounce their membership of the Landsting.

The Landsting Reform Act 2001 made provision for members' resignation from the Landsting, removal for non-attendance, and automatic expulsion upon conviction for a serious criminal offence (if resulting in a jail sentence of at least one year). According to this Act, the Herre Højttaler may provide for the expulsion or suspension of a member upon a resolution of the Landsting.

Officers[edit | edit source]

The Herre Højttaler is the third of the Høj Kongelige Embedsmænd and its main functions are to take the chair in debates, to advise the Chamber on procedural rules, to take formal responsibility for security in the areas of the Landstingbygningen, to speak for the Landsting on ceremonial occasions, and to represent the Landsting as its ambassador in the Kalmar Union and overseas. The role has less power than the Stortingets Høyttaler. The Landsting is largely self-governing, and its presiding officer has traditionally taken a less active role in debates than the Stortingets Høyttaler. For example, unlike the Stortingets Høyttaler, the Herre Højttale does not call the Chamber to order, determine who is to speak when two individuals rise at the same time, rule on points of order, discipline members who violate the rules of the debates, or select amendments to bills. All these functions are performed by the Landsting as a whole. Furthermore, whilst speeches in the Storting are addressed directly to the Stortingets Høyttaler, those in the Landsting are addressed to the Chamber as a whole; i.e., speeches begin "Mine Herrer" (My Lords) instead of "Hr. Højttaler" (Mr Speaker). In practice, the only task of the Herre Højttaler in the Chamber is to formally put the question before a vote, to announce the result of any vote, and to make certain announcements to the Landsting. Furthermore, the Herre Højttaler may end the adjournment of the Landsting (or "recall" it) during a public emergency. The Herre Højttaler is also in charge to hand the speech to the Monark during the Unionsparlamentet Opening Ceremony.

The Landstingets Fuldmægtig (Clerk of the Landsting) is both the chamber's chief adviser on matters of procedure and chief executive of the Landsting. He or she is a permanent official, not a member of the Landsting itself. The Landstingets Fuldmægtig advises the Herre Højttaler on the rules and procedure of the Landsting, signs orders and official communications, and signs and endorses bills. He or she chairs the Board of Management, which consists of the heads of the six departments of the Chamber. The Landstingets Fuldmægtig can have one or two assistants. Another officer of the Landsting is the Forsvarets Forsvarer (Guardian of the Assembly), whose duties include the maintenance of law, order, and security on the Landsting's premises. The Serjeant-at-Våben carries the ceremonial mace, a symbol of the authority of the Monark and of the Landsting, into the chamber each day in front of the Herre Højttaler, and the Mace is laid upon the Table of the chamber during sittings. The Bibliotekar (Librarian) is head of the Landsting's Library, the chamber's research and information arm.

Current composition[edit | edit source]

Herrer Åndelig[edit | edit source]

  • Valdemar Haugen, Archbishop of Nidaros
  • Thorfinn Gormsdóttir, Archbishop of Bjørgvin
  • Solveig Midttømme, Archbishop of Oslo
  • Jørgen Pulsen, Archbishop of Vivorg
  • Yorick Sinason, Archbishop of Slesvig
  • Jacob Ostenfeld, Archbishop of Københavns
  • Espen Strand, Archbishop of Göteborg
  • Göran Alfsson, Archbishop of Stockholm
  • Carl Fredrik Söderblom, Archbishop of Uppsala