Presidentialisation in the Executive Sphere? Evidence from Norwegian Cabinets


Kristoffer Kolltveit, PhD Candidate, Department of Political Science, University of Oslo, PO Box 1097, Blindern, N-0317 Oslo, Norway. E-mail:


Empowerment of state leaders has been apparent over the last decades in various parliamentary democracies. Signs of this development, often labelled ‘presidentialisation’, have been reported in the executive sphere also in Sweden and Denmark in recent years. Few accounts have been made of developments in Norway. This article studies Norwegian cabinets for the last 25 years in light of the so-called ‘presidentalisation thesis’. The article finds no clear tendency of prime ministers appointing more weak and controllable ministers, or more frequently making reshuffles in cabinet, as one would expect from the presidentialisation thesis. However, the Prime Minister's Office has been clearly strengthened, suggesting that the prime ministers' ability to coordinate cabinet policy has increased.