Tuesday, September 13, 2005

New Scene in Norway

Aftenposten Norway, Norwegian news in English

As expected, the election in Norway yesterday resulted in a shift of majorities in the Storting, and within the next few weeks the centre-right government under Kjell Magne Bondevik will be replaced by a redgreen coalition under Jens Stoltenberg.

Stoltenberg was the undisputed winner of the election, taking his party from its disastrous 2001 result of 24,3 % to no less than 32,7 %. He has now committed himself to a coalition government with the leftist-populist party SV and the agrarian nationalist Senterpartiet.

It will - as I have written about her earlier - be a most uneasy coalition. There are fundamental differences of opinion, not the least on foreign affairs, between the parties.

On the non-socialist side the result was heavily influenced by the fact that a large part of the electorate thought that PM Bondevik should leave. This was expressed very openly by the populist Framstegspartiet, and was undoubtedly one of the reasons for its success, replacing centre-right Höyre as the second biggest party.

Höyre for its part was squeezed between its support for Bondevik and the fact that on this issue many of its voters had sympathy for what Framstegspartiet had to say. It's party leader Erna Solberg accordingly had difficulty getting her profile through during the campaign.

Now we will have to await the forming of the new government and its policy declaration. There will certainly be reason to return to the subject when that is presented.