RECENTLY the Norwegian media scene has been filled with articles about who can be elected to the Nobel Committee. This has been a hard question to answer for the Norwegian Parliament, due to the somewhat uncertain rules in the testament left by Alfred Nobel, father of the Nobel Prizes, for example the Peace Prize in Norway.

Everyone has heard about the Nobel Peace Prize that is given every year to people who excel in their work for peace in the world. It is handed out by the Nobel Committee, that consists of five former politicians elected to the committee by the Norwegian Parliament. Up until 1936 all functioning members of the Norwegian government could be a member of the committee. Now, after several changes in the rules surrounding the elections, no functioning member of the Norwegian government or parliament can be a member of the Nobel Committee due to the intention of showing independence from the Norwegian state.

Norwegian Parliament, Oslo. Photo by Adrian E. Østby

Recently there has been an empty seat in the committee. Since the committee now needs another member, the parliament has to vote over who will join the committee. Some of the parties in the parliament wanted to choose one of the deputy representatives of the members of parliament, other parties said that the Nobel Committee wouldn’t be independent if they did. In short, this is what has been occupying the Norwegian politicians and media scene for the past two weeks.

Again, this has sprung out from some turbulence around the controversial politician Carl I. Hagen in Norway. The reason is that the political party he is a member of, FRP, wanted to elect him to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee. He is a deputy representative in the parliament, which is the formal argument for not electing him to the committee. At the same time, many politicians did not see him fit to be a member of the committee due to his character. Lastly, this is the reason for the votation around his candidacy and around the votation-rules regarding the Nobel Peace Prize Committee election.

Further reading: