After 8 years of conservative government, Norway is ready for the center-left.
The country’s Labor Party and its allies won a clear majority in the general election, following a campaign dominated by environmental policies and the future of the country’s oil and gas exploration. elections reached 77%.
Likely future prime minister Jonas Gahr Støre, a 61-year-old Science Po Paris graduate multimillionaire, thanked his supporters:
“So Norway has made it clear that the Norwegian people want a fairer society. Thank you very much to everyone who contributed to this and voted for change.”
During the campaign Jonas Gahr Støre, who has a considerable fortune, exceeding 140 million crowns (about 14 million euros) according to the magazine Kapital, campaigned against “social inequalities” in Norway.
Yet it is one of the most egalitarian countries in the world according to the OECD, but the number of billionaires has more than doubled under the outgoing right-wing team.
Current Prime Minister Erna Solberg, 60, has admitted defeat. Because of her longevity in power and her beliefs in economic liberalism, she is nicknamed “Erna of Iron”. She developed oil exploration in Norway while reducing taxes. But it had to lead the country through multiple oil, migration and health crises.
Coalition negotiations in sight
Now is the time for negotiations to form a coalition government. Negotiations that promise to be long and delicate, the opposition parties are not quite on the same wavelength in terms of the environment and oil exploitation.
Labor and the 4 other opposition parties are expected to win 100 of the 169 seats in the Storting, Norway’s unicameral parliament.
With 89 terms so far, Labor seems poised to secure an absolute majority with their favorite allies, the Center Party and the Socialist Left.
The trio could thus do without the other two opposition forces, the environmentalists of MDG and the communists of Rødt, with whom Jonas Gahr Støre still said he was determined to discuss.
MDG had conditioned its support on the immediate end of oil exploration in the country, the largest exporter of hydrocarbons in Western Europe, an ultimatum rejected by Labor.
So will Labor manage to come to an understanding with the Center Party and the Socialist Left?
It should be noted that in Norway, the Center party mainly defends the interests of the rural world, and that the Socialist Left is more concerned with environmental issues.
These allies often have opposing positions, especially on the urgency to end the oil age, and the centrists of Trygve Slagsvold Vedum have said during the campaign that they do not want to sit with Audun Lysbakken’s Socialist Left.
Global warming and oil
The “red alert for humanity” launched in early August by the UN climate experts (IPCC) placed the issue of global warming at the heart of the electoral campaign for these elections and forced the kingdom to reflect on the fate of oil activities which made him immensely rich.
The report galvanized those on the left and, to a lesser extent, on the right, wanting to end oil. To date, the oil sector accounts for 14% of the Norwegian gross domestic product, more than 40% of exports and 160,000 direct jobs.
Black gold also allows Norway and its 5.4 million inhabitants to have the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world with nearly 12,000 billion crowns of assets (1,166 billion euros).
How will the future coalition manage to manage the rest? Difficult to predict. So far, like the Conservatives, Labor has advocated a smooth and gradual exit from the oil economy.