Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Right wing populists to enter Norwegian government

It was announced yesterday that the talks between the four parties right of the political centre which began after Norway’s general election on 9 September have concluded that the Conservative Party and the right wing populist Progress Party will begin negotiations to form a minority coalition government, while the two centre-right parties, the Liberal Party and the Christian People’s Party, will not enter the coalition. However, the four parties, who together hold a parliamentary majority, have signed an agreement whereby the Liberal Party and the Christian People’s Party have received certain concessions and the incoming government has agreed to seek parliamentary support from them.
If the negotiations succeed and lead to the formation of a government it will be the first time in Norwegian history that the Progress Party enters the government offices and indeed one of the few examples of a Conservative party forming a government with the right wing populists.
The King will open the new Parliament on 9 October. Five days later the outgoing Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg, will present the fiscal budget for 2014 and thereafter tender his and his centre-left coalition government’s resignation to the King. The new government will thereafter take office within a few days.
The outcome announced yesterday marks the failure of the preferred strategy of incoming Prime Minister Erna Solberg, leader of the Conservative Party, whose aim was a majority government which included all the four parties right of the political centre. As things stand she will now first have to make compromises to the right with the Progress Party, which on crucial issues have placed itself outside the general political consensus, and when this has been achieved the government will have to make another compromise to the left to find parliamentary support. The next four years will surely not be boring politically.

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