Norway's centre-left heads to victory in general elections

Norway heads for coalition

The centre-left bloc headed to a victory in Norway's elections Monday as official projections pointed to the governing Conservatives losing power after a campaign dominated by climate change and the future of the country’s oil and gas exploration industry.

With a projection based on a preliminary count of nearly 93% of the votes, the Labor Party and its two allies – the Socialist Left and the euroskeptic Center Party – would hold 100 seats in the 169-seat Stortinget assembly while the current government would get 68. One seat was still unsure.

As Norway’s largest party, Labor will try to form a coalition government and its chief, 61-year-old Jonas Gahr Stoere, is poised to become Norway’s next leader. The Scandinavian country is not a member of the European Union.

“We will now give Norway a new government and a new course,” Gahr Stoere said on a election night before cheering party members who chanted “Stoere” and clapped. He added that he will in the coming days invite the parties “that want a new change” for talks.

Labor has promised an industrial policy that will funnel support to new green industries, like wind power, “blue hydrogen” that uses natural gas to produce an alternative fuel, and carbon capture and storage, which seeks to bury carbon dioxide under the ocean.

In the 2013 election, Labor was ousted from power, enabling the Conservatives' Erna Solberg to become prime minister and Norway’s longest-serving leader. Gahr Stoere said Monday that he also wanted to thank Solberg for having been “a good prime minister.”

“We knew we needed a miracle – the Conservatives’ work session is over,” said Solberg. “I congratulate Jonas Gahr Stoere with what looks like a clear majority.”

Her Conservatives suffered a setback, losing 4.7 percentage points which was dubbed by Norwegian broadcaster NRK as “the election's biggest loser.” Its former coalition partner, the Progress Party lost 3.4 percentage points, according to a preliminary counting of more than 93% of the votes by Norway’s election commission.

The 60-year-old Solberg has been ahead of a minority government since 2020 – before then it was coalitions with, among others, the populist Progress Party. Due to her long tenure, as well as her commitment to economic liberalism, she became known at home as “Iron Erna” – inspired by the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who was nicknamed “The Iron Lady” for her firm style.


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