Parliamentary Questioning in Norway
The purpose of the project is to improve the data on parliamentary questioning in Norway, make them available to the research community and get a better understanding of parliamentary questioning by means of various types of analyses of these data.
About the project
Most assemblies in parliamentary systems have developed an array of means to control government ministers and their bureaucracy. Parliamentary questions are among the least dramatic tools that legislators may use, and most parliaments have institutionalised a variety of forms of questioning – both oral and written types. Questioning is used to extract information from governments and to monitor their actions. It can be used to scrutinise the justifications ministers give for executive branch decisions and policies. As an instrument of control, parliamentary questioning is analogous to fire-alarms rather than police patrols. It is typically a decentralised way of examining the government. In addition, parliamentary questioning also serves purposes that are not directly related to control of the executive, such as being a tool for agenda setting; questions may draw media attention, generate debates and, in the end,lead to new legislation. Also, self-promotion rather than control of the executive or agenda setting may be the real aim of some of the questioners. Incumbents then use questioning as part of their reselection and re-election strategies.