On 27 May the Storting passed a bill supported by the government of Christian Michelsen calling for the establishment of separate Norwegian consulates, as under the terms of the union, Norway and Sweden shared a common foreign policy. King Oscar II vetoed the bill. Rather than countersign it as the King demanded, the government resigned. Oscar refused to accept the resignations, claiming he could not form a replacement government. On 7 June the Storting declared the union dissolved on the grounds that Oscar had effectively abandoned his functions as King of Norway by failing to appoint a new government. The Swedish government was prepared to dissolve the union, provided that the Norwegian people agree to it in a referendum.
The question put to the voters (only men had suffrage in Norway at the time) was whether they approved of the "already completed dissolution of the union" («den stedfundne Opløsning af Unionen»). The wording of the question was carefully considered to make it clear that the Storting considered the union to be out of force even if the Swedish government insisted that it could be dissolved only upon mutual consent.
The Storting announced the referendum on 27 July, in anticipation of the Swedish demands, thereby avoiding the appearance that it had been scheduled in response to demands from Stockholm.
Although women did not have a vote, Norwegian suffragists started a campaign to collect signatures in favor of the dissolution and were able to present 244,765 signatures in favor of the dissolution within two weeks.
|Source: Nohlen & Stöver|