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Johan Sverdrup

Sverdrup, Johan (yōhänˈ svĕrˈdrŏp) [key], 1816–92, Norwegian prime minister. As a member of the Storting (1851–84) and as prime minister (1884–89) he successfully advocated parliamentary government with ministerial responsibility, trial by jury, and the political and social advancement of the farmers. His party, the Left, founded in 1869, united the various opposition groups into a single powerful majority. In 1880, Sverdrup's bill for seating the governmental ministers in the Storting was vetoed by King Oscar II of Sweden and Norway. A constitutional struggle resulted over the relative powers held by the king, the ministers, and the Storting. In 1884 the opposition succeeded in having the Conservative cabinet impeached by a special tribunal. Sverdrup became premier, and the cabinet was seated in the Storting, a move that ultimately made the ministers responsible to the Storting. He failed, however, to satisfy the extremist wing of his party and resigned in 1889.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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