Sign up for myFT Daily Digest and be the first to learn about Norwegian news.
Norway’s center-left opposition has regained power after an unprecedented eight years of right-wing rule in an election dominated by the future and inequality of the country’s oil industry.
According to predictions that counted almost all votes, the center-left party won 100 seats, while the center-right party won 68 seats.
Conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg admitted this on Monday night. As a result, former Foreign Minister Labor Party leader Jonas Gahr Store (Jonas Gahr Store) came to power, which means that for the first time in 62 years, all five Nordic countries have a left-wing prime minister at the same time.
“The new majority and the new government, so it will eventually be the turn of the ordinary people in this country,” Store said, promising to take decisive action on the climate crisis, which he called his main task and aimed to make Norway a more equal National society.
Northern Europe has long been a bastion of social democracy. In recent decades, right-wing parties have risen. Although the Norwegian Labour Party is one of the most ruthless political machines in Europe, ranking first in every election since 1924, its support rate has continued to decline in recent years, leading to the rise of several smaller left-wing parties.
“This is a very good result for us. This is a climate and an unequal election. A huge long-term challenge is how we can transform the Norwegian economy in a world that is rapidly shifting to renewable energy. Be prepared,” former Labor Party Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide told the Financial Times.
The Conservative Party was the biggest loser in the election, down 4.6 percentage points to 20.4%. The Labour Party’s support rate also dropped slightly to 26.4%, the second worst in 97 years, but it was enough to give the Labour Party first place and a chance to lead the new government.
Store has pledged to address the growing inequality, which he claims is the result of Solberg’s policy, but as she emphasized, he does not want to shut down the Norwegian oil industry prematurely, which is the largest oil industry in Western Europe.
The elections in Norway lacked a central theme until last month’s UN climate change report warned that humanity is in the “code red”. This has energized some small parties on the left and the right, helping Norway to accelerate its transition to a green economy and get rid of the oil and gas industry that still dominates exports.
“In any case, the first international gathering we will attend is Glasgow [the COP26 climate summit]. We need to take the lead right away to do something clear,” Ed said.
The preferred coalition of shops and the rural centre party and the pro-environmental socialist left will be a minority in the new parliament.
But the new prime minister will conduct difficult alliance negotiations on issues such as the future of the oil industry and the country’s position in Europe. Both the centrist and the socialist left are skeptical of Norway’s status in the European Economic Area, and basically accept EU rules without any influence. The Labour Party said it did not want to change.
The three-party alliance means that the leader of the Labour Party does not need to rely on the support of smaller, more radical parties, such as the Communist Red Party and the Green Party. “If this is true, that would be great,” Ed added.
The left-wing environmental vote seems to have mainly voted for the socialist left and the Red Army, who are also strong on inequality issues, rather than the Greens, who completed the 4% barrier required to obtain additional seats, while surpassing the 2017 score has seen an increase.