«Lex Jagland» for Nobel Committee

Lex Jagland nobelLex Jagland is proposed due to possible conflicts from Torbjørn Jagland being member of the Nobel Committee and the European Council. Photo: Stortinget.no / NTM

The Parliament proposes «Lex Jagland» for Nobel Committee

Former Prime Minister and Labour Leader, Thorbjørn Jagland is probably the last member of the Norwegian Nobel Committee who is also the head of an international organization such as the Council of Europe. The Presidency of the Norwegian Parliament proposes «Lex Jagland» to end the practice.


A unanimous presidency in the Norwegian Parliament (Stortinget) advocates that leaders of international organizations where states are members cannot be elected as members of the Nobel Committee. This will not have retroactive effect, and the rule change does, therefore, not encompass Thorbjørn Jagland, who is General Secretary of the Council of Europe – as well as being a member of the committee.

The change of rules will prevent possible conflict of interests, says President of the Parliament, Tone Wilhelmsen Trøen to NTB.

To take on the role of both a leader in an international organization, where states are members and participating in the Nobel Committee, can lead to conflicting interests as the countries are represented by their authorities. As a leader of the organisation, you will have a loyalty relationship with the other members – The authorities of the member states in this particular case. At the same time, it may be appropriate to assess candidates who are opposed to the selfsame authorities, she elaborates.

Must Resign

Asked what will happen if one who has already been elected to the committee becomes the head of such an international organisation as well, she answers:

– There is nothing expressly stated regarding such a situation, but the consequence will be that the person has to resign from the committee.

The Presidency also recommends that members can only be elected for two periods – That is, they can be on the committee for a maximum of twelve years. The proposal was submitted on Thursday. It will be dealt with in the Norwegian Parliament on November 27th. The Presidency’s proposal will most likely be adopted.


The Norwegian Parliament has attempted to fix the rules for who can be on the Norwegian Nobel Committee for one year. This prompted by the noise surrounding the Progress Party’s (Frp) nomination of former Party Leader, and current Deputy Member of Parliament, Carl Ivar Hagen. Jagland’s different roles popped up in that debate.

The Norwegian Parliament decided in December last year that neither MPs nor their deputies may be members of the committee. A selection of MPs and the Presidency have considered whether other changes in the electoral process should be implemented.

A majority of the Presidency are opposed to change the scheme where members are elected on the basis of proposals from the political parties –  based on their proportional size, as is the current situation.

– We believe the scheme ensures that those who choose have different backgrounds and that they have a majority behind them. This means that the election remains rooted in a democratic process, President Tone Wilhelmsen Trøen (Conservatives) tells NTB.

Membership as a reward

Vice-President Abid Raja (Liberals) proposed an alternative scheme that will detach the election of committee members based on representation.

In the public debate, it has frequently been emphasised that some may receive this as a reward for long and faithful service. This ought not to be the case, he writes in his proposal. He didn’t receive support from any of the other political parties.

The proposal applies to other posts and committees as well, such as the Auditor General, but no changes are recommended for them.


© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today