The members elected from the same political party constitute themselves into parliamentary party groups.
At group meetings the parties define their political positions and formulate their views on issues currently being dealt with in the Storting.
Each group elects a steering committee and a chairman, who is also called the parliamentary leader. Among the responsibilities of the chairman are to make certain political decisions, coordinate group activities, suggest the allocation of members among the committees and assign speaking time in parliamentary debates.
Most party groups hold meetings on Wednesday afternoons. At these meetings, the members discuss important issues and inform their colleagues about the matters currently being dealt with by the standing committees to which they belong. The party groups discuss and clarify their positions on all the important matters to be considered by the Storting so that the members can stand as united as possible there. It is in the party groups that strategies are discussed and laid, and political initiatives of the individual members assessed and approved. Group meetings are not open to the public.
If there is disagreement within the party group concerning any matter, this is clarified in advance within the group. A minority usually accedes to the view of the majority, and votes in support of it when the matter comes up in the Storting. In matters of importance to the individual members’ constituencies, local considerations may take precedence over the view of the party majority. The same may apply in “issues of conscience”.
Each party group has its own secretariat at the Storting. The secretariat assists the members with work of a political or more practical nature.