Two weeks before the general election in Germany, voters in Norway are in favor of a change of government towards a center-left alliance. The oil nation in northern Europe is likely to be ruled by a social democrat in the future.
Norway is likely to be ruled by a center-left alliance soon. The Social Democrats, who have been in the opposition for eight years, clearly prevailed in the parliamentary elections in the Scandinavian country despite a slight loss of votes, as provisional figures from the electoral authority showed. Party leader Jonas Gahr Støre is likely to become the new head of government and successor to the conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg. He can probably count on an alliance with the Center Party and the Socialist Left Party, which should get a majority of 89 of the 169 seats in parliament.
“Now we can finally say: We did it,” said the 61-year-old Støre late on Monday evening to cheering Social Democrats in Oslo, “Jonas, Jonas”. An alliance with the center and the socialist left is “our plan A”, but they want to invite all parties to talks that want a change of government.
At the same time, Støre thanked his opponent Erna Solberg. “She has been a good and consistent Prime Minister for Norway,” he said. Shortly before, Solberg had admitted defeat. “I congratulate Jonas Gahr Støre on – as it now looks like – a clear majority in favor of a change of government,” she said in front of party friends.
Almost all votes are tallied
After a preliminary count of almost all votes, the Social Democratic Labor Party was 26.4 percent on Tuesday night. Compared to the 27.4 percent of the last parliamentary election in 2017, this meant slight losses, but not as strong as that of Solberg’s conservative party Høyre: As the second strongest force, it slipped from 25.0 to 20.5 percent.
Støre’s preferred coalition partners, on the other hand, achieved substantial gains: the center is expected to reach 13.6 percent (plus 3.3 percentage points), the socialist left 7.5 percent (plus 1.5). The right-wing populist Progress Party lost significantly and was 11.7 percent (minus 3.5).
Four parties are wrestling with the four percent hurdle
They left the left Red Party and the liberal Venstre quite safely behind with 4.7 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively, while the Christian People’s Party and the Greens were unlikely to make it over the hurdle with 3.8 percent each. Nevertheless, both parties had three mandates each.
Almost 3.9 million Norwegians were asked to vote in the election. Almost 1.65 million had already voted early – that was more than 42 percent of all eligible voters and a record in a Norwegian parliamentary election. The preliminary final result should be known on Tuesday.
In the affluent oil nation, climate and environmental protection – and the associated oil policy – played an important role in the election campaign. However, the parties that are particularly keen on climate policy – the Socialist Left, the Greens and Venstre – fell somewhat short of the high expectations of the polls on election evening.