Politics In the 21st Century
In March 2000, Prime Minister Kjell Magne
Bondevik resigned after Parliament voted to build the country's first
gas-fired power stations. Bondevik had objected to the project, asserting
that the plants would emit too much carbon dioxide. Labor Party leader
Jens Stoltenberg succeeded Bondevik. Stoltenberg and the Labor Party were
defeated in Sept. 2001 elections, and no party emerged with a clear
majority. After a month of talks, the Conservatives, the Christian
People's Party, and the Liberals formed a coalition with Bondevik as prime
minister. The governing coalition was backed by the far-right Progress
Party. But in Sept. 2005 elections, the center-left Red-Green coalition
gained a majority of seats, and Jens Stoltenberg of the Labor Party once
again became prime minister.
In April 2008, government officials agreed to
amend the 1814 Constitution to loosen the ties between church and state.
The monarch must still be Lutheran, but citizens are no longer required to
raise their children as Lutherans. In the future, the church will appoint
bishops instead of the monarch, and equal financial backing for other
faiths and atheist communities must be provided by the state.
In June 2008, Parliament voted 84–41 to pass a
new marriage act, granting homosexual couples the same marriage and
adoption rights as heterosexual couples.