Svalbard and Jan Mayen are not official countries but rather unincorporated areas which share the same government administration as the people of Norway. Although the archipelago of Svalbard is under Norwegian sovereignty it was afforded special status according to the 1925 Svalbard Treaty. This act also gave Svalbard the status of being a free economic and official demilitarized zone. Its head of state, the governor, is appointed by Norway’s government. Jan Mayen is an isolated volcanic island in the Arctic Ocean which is governed by the County Governor of Nordland. It has been a territory of Norway since August 1994.

Because Svalbard and Jan Mayen are unincorporated areas of Norway their representatives are elected the same way as other municipalities of Norway. As a constitutional monarchy the Norwegian populace elects its legislature. The Storting is composed of 169 members elected for a period of four years. Norway has elections every two years on an alternating basis between local and parliamentary elections. There are no term limits as to how many times the Norwegian Prime Minister can run.

Because both Svalbard and Jan Mayen are under the jurisdiction of Norway the majority of governmental decisions for the two northern regions are made in Norway’s capital city, Oslo. Norway’s parliament is known as the Storting so it stands to reason that the business of the Scandinavian country is conducted in a building called the Storting Building. This structure, which was designed by Swedish architect Emil Victor Langlet, was first used as the seat of government on March 5, 1866. The official residence of Norway’s Prime Minister is known as Inkognitogata 18.

As Norway holds sovereignty over Svalbard and Jan Mayen, Norwegian political parties are also active in the islands. Some major political parties in Norway include the Labour Party, the Conservative Party, and the Progress Party.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018