Home International Norway’s red-green coalition wins elections

Norway’s red-green coalition wins elections


Oslo : Norway’s red-green coalition managed to buck recent political trends in the Scandinavian country and was returned to another four-year term in office, with more than half the votes counted late Monday.

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg’s red-green coalition was on 87 seats, sufficient to win a majority in the 169-seat legislature, according to Statistics Norway’s tally.

The 50-year-old Stoltenberg formed his coalition in 2005 and managed to secure a new four-year term for his Labour Party and its junior partners, the Centre Party and the Socialist Left Party.

The Labour Party remained the largest in Parliament and was projected to win 64 seats, up three seats from 2005.

The tallies suggested the Centre Party had gained one seat to 12 while the Socialist Left Party dropped four seats to 11.

It was the first time in 16 years a Norwegian government was returned to office.

“This will be an exciting night, a thriller,” Socialist Left Party leader Kristin Halvorsen, finance minister since 2005, said as she addressed party members.

Turnout was estimated at 69 per cent among the some 3.5 million eligible voters. Participation in 2005 was 77.4 percent.

The main challengers to the Stoltenberg-led coalition were the Progress Party of right-wing populist Siv Jensen and the conservative party led by Erna Solberg.

Solberg was credited with running a strong campaign, and saw her party gain some 3 percentage points to 17 percent.

“We have won the elections,” Solberg said as her party gained seven seats, but said she had also hoped for a new government.

However, the smaller Christian Democrats and Liberal Party lost support compared to 2005. Liberal Party leader Lars Sponheim said he would step down in the spring. Both parties expressed reservations against the Progress Party’s calls for tighter immigration rules.

“I am proud the Progress Party made its best result ever,” Jensen said after the party secured its position as second strongest partyin Parliament with 40 seats, a gain of two.

She campaigned on tighter immigration rules and spending more of Norway’s oil wealth.

Main election issues included the size of social expenditures, especially on education, and whether oil and gas drilling should be allowed in sensitive areas off the north-western coast.