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Norway - Politics

HoyreConservative Party3048
FrPProgress Party4129
KrFChristian Democratic Party1010
VenstreLiberals 29
APLabor Party6455
SVSocialist Left Party117
SPCentre Party1110
MDGGreen Party01
Voters across Norway casting ballots 09 September 2013 in a parliamentary election that led to a center-right victory, which could lead to stricter anti-immigration laws. Pre-election surveys had indicated the election would lead to a change in government, and a victory for Conservative leader Erna Solberg. The Conservative leader Erna Solberg was expected to put together and lead a center-right coalition in time for October, when Stoltenberg said he would step down after presenting his government's last budget. The opposition parties thus had a month to sort out their disagreements and form a government platform with majority support in parliament. Having been appointed by the King in an extraordinary session of the Council of State on 16 October 2013, Erna Solbergs government met for its first Council of State session at the Royal Palace.

The Conservatives won 48 seats, up from 30 in 2009, according to the projections. The Progress Party won 29 seats, down from 41. The Christian Democrats won 10 seats, unchanged from 2009 and the Liberal Party got 9, up from 2 in the last general election. Conservative leader Erna Solberg's stated aim of a four-party coalition remains unlikely; there is strong opposition within both Christian Democratic Party and the Liberals to participating in government with the Progress Party.

In the general election of 9 September, the parties Venstre (social liberal party), the Christian Democratic Party, the Progress Party and the Conservative Party won a historically strong majority in the Storting. All four parties promised their voters that this would lead to new policy and a new government. The Conservatives formed a coalition government with the Progress Party, which had called for stricter immigration laws. With 48 seats against the Progress Party's 29, Solberg's Conservatives should have an easier job negotiating a government platform suited to their own manifesto. The anti-tax and anti-immigration Progress Party, which once had among its members mass killer Anders Behring Breivik, won 16 percent of votes and could be kingmaker in a new center-right coalition after eight years of center-left rule. Progress Party had stated it would not support a government of which it is not a part, but without the Progress Party, the other three conservative parties had only 67 votes between them, well short of the 85 needed for a majority.

Until the 1981 election, Norway had been governed by majority Labor Party governments since 1935, except for three periods (1963, 1965-71, and 1972-73). The Labor Party lost its majority in the Storting in the 1981 elections. From 1981 to 2005, governments alternated between Labor minority governments and Conservative-led coalition governments.

The Norwegian Progress Party formally emerged in 1976, but existed as only a small and noisy outlier" that emulated the anti-tax Progress Party in Denmark for the nest deeade. Under the leadership of Carl Hagen, the Progress Party in the late 1980s seized upon an anti-immigrant line with unprecedented success. At the 1997 Storting election the Progress Party earned 15 parliamentary seats, tying it with the Christian People's Party as the countrys second strongest political party. The Progress Party is in many ways analogous to the American Tea Party, though in Europe they are drivenby opposition to recent mass immigration of foreigners, especially Muslims.

Jens Stoltenberg's Second Government was appointed by King Harald V on 17 October 2005. It was a majority government representing the Labor Party, the Socialist Left Party and the Centre Party. In the run-up to the 2005 election, Labor Party leader Jens Stoltenberg reached out to the Socialist Left (SV) party and agrarian Center party to form a "Red-Green" coalition government that commanded a majority of seats in parliament. Stoltenberg's government was the first majority government in Norway in over 20 years, but the governing coalition has had to bridge substantial policy differences to build this majority. The 2005 election was historic because it was the first time the Labor Party was in a coalition government since the 1940s, the first time SV was ever in a government, and the first time the Center Party joined with the socialist parties as opposed to the right-of-center parties.

On September 14, 2009, the "Red-Green" coalition won reelection for four more years after winning 86 of the 169 seats in parliament. In the parliamentary election on 14 September 2009, the governing parties had their mandate renewed by a continued majority in the Storting (Parliament), and the Government could continue. Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg (Labor Party - AP) and his two coalition partners, the Socialist Left (SV) and Center Party (SP) held on to their parliamentary majority in nationwide elections September 14, winning 86 of 169 seats in Parliament. Stoltenberg himself, as well as the Labor Party more broadly, came out strengthened by the relatively strong showing of AP compared to pre-election polls and to the party's 2005 numbers, and the weak showing of his far-left-leaning SV coalition partner headed by current finance minister Kristen Halvorsen. On the morning after, media focused on the tactical victory for PM Stoltenberg - who is being compared to great statesmen and Labor Party giants like Einar Gerhardsen and Gro Harlem Brundtland. This is the first majority government to win reelection in Norway since 1949. (The last minority government to do so was in 1993.)

The four main center right opposition parties couldn't muster a viable alternative government in 2009, and their infighting likely led to their defeat as a bloc. That being said, Erna Solberg's Conservative Party (Hoyre) came out much stronger than their 2005 numbers and pre-election polls, with the end result that they gained seats to win a total of 31 seats in the new parliament. Siv Jensen's controversial right-leaning Progress Party (FrP) did not do as well as they expected to do, but nevertheless pronounced great satisfaction at having produced their greatest election result ever, with a total of 40 seats (compared to 38 in the last parliament).

While Labor, FrP, and Hoyre scored impressive gains, the moderate center Liberal Party (Venstre) suffered an unexpected and almost total defeat, going from 10 to 2 seats. As results became clear on election night, Venstre's party leader Lars Sponheim announced he would resign as party leader at the party's next convention. In the final count, he did not even win his own seat. It was Sponheim who had made a major campaign issue out of refusing to contemplate cooperation with any government that included Siv Jensen's Progress Party (FrP). This infighting, while based on principled differences such as opposition to FrP's anti-immigration and weak environmental protention stand, appears to have turned off many potential Venstre voters.

The Stoltenberg government that took office in October 2005 and was reelected in 2009 continued the northern policy laid down by the Bondevik government in 2003. This "High North" strategy has remained one of the constant themes of this government and encompasses many of the government's highest priorities, including environmental protection, responsible development of energy resources, maintaining a security presence in the Arctic, and developing Norway's relations with Russia. In 2010, Norway concluded bilateral agreements with Russia resolving the two countries long-disputed maritime boundary in the Barents Sea and Arctic Ocean and facilitating travel for border residents. Upon ratification, the maritime boundary agreement entered into force in 2011.

Norway's center-right alliance, led by Conservative Erna Solberg - nicknamed "Iron Erna" for her tough image, claimed victory in the national election 09 September 2013. Incumbent Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg has conceded defeat after eight years in office. With three quarters of votes counted, a bloc of four center-right parties had won 96 of 169 seats in parliament. Prime Minister Stoltenberg's three-party coalition won 72, compared to the 86 they had in the outgoing parliament.

Conservative Party teamed up with the Progress Party in a minority coalition. The Progress Party's popularity had to a large extent hinged on its promises to be different from all the other - slightly boring - middle-of-the-road Norwegian political parties. For decades, Norway's Conservative Party considered the Progress Party to be too radical to bring into a coalition government. Their anti-immigration and sometimes anti-Islamic rhetoric often alienated them from the rest of Norway's largely moderate and centrist political establishment. So too did their populist promises of spending more of the country's oil wealth on everything from tax cuts to road construction.

Two smaller center-right parties promised their support in parliament. Minority governments are not uncommon in Norway, and usually govern without too much trouble.

Norways conservative parties won a majority in 11 September 2017 general election, though reelected PM Erna Solberg could face a tricky negotiating task forming an effective government. Solberg became the first right-wing prime minister to win re-election since 1985. The four blue bloc parties Solbergs Conservatives, the nationalist Progress Party, the Christian Democrats and the Liberals, have 89 seats between them, ten more than the red-green total of 79. But the Christian Democrats stated that they no longer wish to work with the right-wing, strictly anti-immigration Progress Party.

Jonas Gahr Stres Labour party was by far the worst performer in the election. The party, traditionally Norways largest, retained the largest single share of the vote over the Conservatives but its 27.4 percent showing represented the worst election for the party since 2001. Stoere, who comes from a wealthy background, claims to champion the fight against inequality. He held key portfolios in his mentor and former Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg's cabinets, serving as foreign minister and health minister.

The Red Party, founded in 2007 and never before represented in parliament, was projected a 3.1 point gain in Oslo, where Labour, the Conservatives, Progress and the Christian Democrats all lost support. The Socialist Left and Centre parties did gain ground in the capital, completing an apparent swing to the left in Norways biggest population centre. A party with a declared Marxist-Socialist ideology, the Norwegian Red Party seeks to replace capitalism with democratic socialism, but does not support armed revolution. With 1.2 percent of the overall vote at the latest count, Red leader Bjrnar Moxnes is likely to enter parliament as a representative for Oslo.

The outcome of this election was likely to have a major impact on Norway's crucial oil industry as one or more smaller parties in each of the coalitions are seeking to impose limits on exploration in the Arctic Ocean off Norway's coast.

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