Change of Power Ahead in Norway as Left-Wing Coalition Wins Election

CC BY-SA 2.0 / Chris Brown / StortingetNorwegian Parliament
Norwegian Parliament - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.09.2021
Whereas Labour, the traditional heavyweights, have had their weakest showing in years, despite winning the election, the fringe left-wing parties, by contrast, have had record success.
A change of government is looming in Norway, as the left-of-the-centre “red” coalition is heading for a parliamentary majority in Monday's general election.
Combined, the Labour (26.4 percent), the Centre (13.6 percent) and the Socialist Left (7.5 percent) get 89 of 169 seats in the Norwegian parliament, with over 99 percent of votes counted. This allows them to safely depose the right-of-the-centre “blue” bloc led by the Conservatives, national broadcaster NRK reported.
“We have waited, we have hoped and we have worked hard. And now we can finally say: We did it”, the country's likely next prime minister Labour leader Jonas Gahr Støre said. “Last winter, we were 20 percent behind in the polls. I am proud that we have managed to get up. Today we celebrate a shift”, he went on, emphasising that his party succeeded with what he called “plan A”.
Analysts pointed out that Jonas Gahr Støre speaks like he has gotten his “dream government” without having to rely on fringe parties such as the Reds and the Greens. However, it will take some time before a new government can be presented. Jonas Gahr Støre is looking forward to future talks with allies from the Socialist Left Party and the Centre. Socialist Left leader Audun Lysbakken emphasised his readiness to cooperate, presenting the climate, oil and tax distribution as key issues.
“It is a result above expectations. I didn't think it was true when I saw the first figures,” Anniken Huitfeldt, a Labour MP since 2005 who chairs the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee and is currently tipped to become Norway's new Foreign Minister, told Swedish broadcaster SVT.
However, despite the election victory, Labour had its worst election in terms of votes since 2001 and its second-worst in a hundred years. Nevertheless, the ruling Conservatives have lost 4.6 percent since 2017 and received just 20.5 percent of the vote. Prime Minister Erna Solberg admitted defeat. Combined, Norway's heavyweights, the Labour and the Conservatives are at their weakest in 15 years.
“I am incredibly proud of what I have achieved during these eight years. But as the result looks now, it is the voters' wish that other parties will govern Norway in the future”, Solberg said during the party vigil.
The 2021 election appears to be a record success for the fringe left-wing parties – never before have the Socialist Left, the Greens and the Marxist Reds had so many seats combined (24). The majority of their votes comes from the big cities.
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The maverick national-conservative Progress Party, which left the “blue” coalition and the government over immigration policy disagreements, had a boost compared with the adverse polls in the run-up to the election, but nevertheless had its worst showing in 28 years, at 11.7 percent.
The election proved a bitter pill to swallow even for the Christian Democrats, who scored only 3.8 percent and ended up below the threshold for the first time since World War II.
Regardless of its party composition, the new parliament has already been touted by the Norwegian media as the most gender equal in the country's history, with women making up 47 percent of the MPs.
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