Norway says goodbye to the conservative government under Prime Minister Erna Solberg after eight years. Jonas Gahr Støres Social Democratic Opposition Party won the parliamentary election on Monday night. Solberg has declined to resign herself to defeat and has announced the resignation of her cabinet. According to the Prime Minister, there is a “clear majority that wants another government”.
After counting 97.5 percent of the vote, the Solberg Conservative Party stands at 36 seats in parliament, a loss of 9 seats. The big competitor, Støres Workers Party, also lost a seat, but became the big winner with 48 seats.
For a majority government, Støre still needs support from other parties to get the 85 seats needed. In his victory speech, the Social Democrat said he was looking for other center-left parties to form a coalition. This can be done with the Agricultural Centre Party (28 seats) and the Socialist Party (13 seats).
Around 3.9 million Norwegians were able to vote for a new parliament Sunday and Monday, more than 1.6 million did so by mail. Growing income disparities and climate change were the main themes in the election battle.
More tax for richer Norwegians
Støre promised to lower taxes on low and middle-income income and raise rates for wealthier Norwegians. Also, a government under his leadership would reduce CO2 emissions as required by the Paris Climate Treaty, but it has not supported proposals to reduce oil and gas drilling due to the massive job losses so far. The Green Party, with three seats, an obvious coalition partner for the Social Democrats, wants to have completely halted Norwegian oil production by 2035.
60-year-old Solberg has been in power with her Conservative Party since 2013 with some coalition partners. 61-year-old Støre was previously foreign minister under Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, who is now leading NATO. Neighbouring countries Sweden, Finland and Denmark have already opted for a somewhat left-hand course.