Budsjettprosedyrer og mindretallsregjeringer

Forskjeller mellom Sverige og Norge


  • Karl Eirik Schjott-Pedersen


Budget procedures and minority governments – Differences between Sweden and Norway

The Swedish and the Norwegian parliaments introduced quite similar budget procedures at the end of the 1990’s. Since then, the Swedish government has lost three votes on the budget approval. The Norwegian government has not lost any. The voting procedure in the Swedish parliament makes it easier for a minority government to collect a majority for their budget proposal, by a final alternative vote between the two most supported alternatives and an opportunity for members to abstain. However, this also makes it easier to collect an alternative majority during budget implementation. The Norwegian parliament’s system is more demanding, as it does not accept members to abstain, and demands an absolute majority among all members of parliament to support a decision. A member is not forced to vote for a proposal he or she disagrees with. Consequently, a member can oppose the implementation of an alternative vote. By that, it also implies a risk for not reaching any decision. This leaves a disproportionate influence to the partner(s) needed to collect a majority. This study on the difference between the budget procedures in the Swedish and the Norwegian parliaments, reveals arguments pro and con the different alternatives. What weight is given to these advantages and disadvantages will decide which alternative is preferable.

The Swedish parliament seems to have a particular challenge related to the fact that the fiscal budget may be approved without support from an absolute majority. The Norwegian parliament on the other hand seems to have a particular challenge related to the fact that the budget process may conclude without approval of any budget alternative. If a budget has not been approved by an absolute majority in the parliament in any other way, a possible solution may be to introduce a final alternative vote where all members are obliged to vote. The overall budget decision has such significant importance that a defeat for the government should be expected to trigger the government’s resignation. Nonetheless, the performance in such a situation cannot be seen in isolation from the parliamentary situation.