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great advantages which the union had held for the two countries could only . be enjoyed provided their mutual relations were cordial, and certainly could not be retained by a union based on force, which would create such ill-feeling that it would constitute a source of weakness rather than of strength. The dissolution must be legal, however, and in order to settle the most vital questions concerned in the future relations of the two countries, the Riksdag should be asked to empower the Government to negotiate with the Storting.
The Riksdag, to which this proposal was submitted on June 21, at once referred the matter to a special committee, which after a month's discussion, reported on July 25. The substance of the report and the resolution taken by the Riksdag are contained in the Address to the King of July 28. Following the report of the committee the Riksdag took the position that in a matter of such consequence as the dissolution of the union a surer expression of the will of the Norwegian people should be obtained. It granted the authorization requested, but on condition that the negotiations should be subsequent to a vote of the people of Norway, either for a new Storting to decide the matter, or by a direct plebiscite. Should such a vote result in favor of dissolution, the Riksdag would agree to it, on condition that agreements regarding the arbitration of future disputes, a neutral zone between the two countries, pasturage for the Nomadic Swedish Lapps, commerce in transit and common waterways were made in a manner satisfactory to Sweden's interests. Although formal approval was not given to this decision of the Riksdag until August 8, this resolution was at once telegraphed to the Storting by command of the King.
On July 27, two days after the committee's report to the Riksdag and the day before the address referred to above, the Norwegian Department of Justice had reported to the Storting that as outside of Norway there appeared to be a doubt of the strength of the popular desire for dissolution, a doubt expressed in the committee report to the Riksdag, it was of the utmost importance that a plebiscite should be held, not so much to ascertain the wish of the people, for that was sufficiently clear, but to dissipate the doubts of outsiders.
The resolution and draft regulations for the plebiscite, proposed by the Department, were adopted by the Storting on July 28.2 The Department's recommendation may be summarized as follows: The elections were to take place throughout the Kingdom on Sunday, August 13, at 1 P. M. The electoral qualifications fixed on the last election of the Storting were to be followed except with certain modifications - chiefly calculated to allow those to vote who had attained their majority or completed the necessary period of domicile since the last election. In view of the shortness of the time certain
1 Documents, post, p. 1051. 2 Documents, post, pp. 1053 et seq. 3 The electoral qualifications in Norway in 1905 allowed all male citizens over 25 to
special provisions were made. Anyone entitled to vote at the last Storting election who had subsequently changed his domicile was allowed to vote in his former electoral district under the regulations concerning absentee voting, and leniency as to a reasonable excuse for being absent was to be practiced. The ballots were to contain merely the word "yes
no” and were not to be signed. These regulations were supplemented by a circular of instructions from the Department of Justice giving full directions regarding the composition and functions of election boards and the like. If the voting could not be finished on August 13, it was to be continued the next day. A special circular by the Department of Ecclesiastical Affairs to the clergy instructed them to hold short services at the polling places if the polls should be so far distant from the church as to make attendance at service interfere with the participation in the refereundum.2
All parties in Norway united in support of the dissolution; Liberals, Conservatives, Moderates, the Labor Party, the women, the Swedes resident in Norway, all issued appeals to the electorate in its favor. The vote for dissolution was overwhelming. Of the 371,911 votes cast, the Department of Justice reported that 368,208 were affirmative and 184 negative. In spite of the short notice, 85.4% of those qualified had voted.3
The Storting, on receipt of the official result of the vote, thereupon extended a formal request to the Swedish Government to cooperate in the dissolution of the union by entering into formal negotiations for the purpose of arriving at an agreement on the questions raised by the dissolution. The request was at once agreed to and each country appointed a committee for the purpose, which met at Karlstad in Sweden, from August 31 to September 23. During their sessions great anxiety was felt throughout Europe over the outcome and each of the two Governments stationed troops at the border. The Swedish proposition called for submission to the Hague Tribunal of any dispute not involving the independence, integrity, or vital interest of the two countries, and a neutral zone within which the fortresses were to be razed. The conditions of the neutral zone and the razing of the fortresses created ill-will in Norway, where they were thought humiliating. They were ultimately accepted by Norway, however, on the concession by Sweden that two historic fortresses should be allowed to remain. On October 16, the Riksdag approved a govvote, who were not disqualified through indictment for crime or bankruptcy. Women were not given the vote until 1907.
1 Documents, post, p. 1060. 2 Documents, post, p. 1069.
3 Documents, post, p. 1070. It is interesting to compare these figures with those of the plebiscite on the question of Prince Charles of Denmark as King, which was held a few months later. In this only 328,827 voted and, although the vote was decisive, there was a far greater negative vote. The figures are 259,563 for, and 69,264 against Braekstad, Encyclopedia Britannica.
ernment resolution to annul the Act of Union, to date from the day when the Karlstad agreements should have been formally signed by the two countries, and authorized the King to declare the union dissolved, and, the agreements having been signed on the 26th, on October 27, King Oscar issued a proclamation to the Norwegian people announcing his abdication as King of Norway.