He was elected to the Norwegian Parliament from Østfold in 1989, and was re-elected on three occasions. Holten was President of the Lagting 1997–2001. His daughter Line Henriette Holten Hjemdal was elected in 2005.
Holten was a member of the executive committee of Fredrikstad city council from 1975 to 1989. In 1983–1987 he was also a member of Østfold county council.
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