Left-Wing opposition party wins election by a landslide in Norway

Jubilation for Norway's Labour Party and leader Jonas Gahr Store (second right) after exit polls showed victory in the election. [Javad Parsa/ NTB via AFP]

After a campaign dominated on the future of the country's oil industry, Norway's left-wing opposition, led by Labour Party leader Jonas Gahr Store, won a landslide victory in a general election.

On Monday, Store deposed a center-right coalition led by Conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg, which had ruled since 2013.

After Solberg accepted defeat, Store addressed ecstatic supporters, “We waited, we hoped, and we have worked so hard, and now we can finally say it: We did it!”

According to the Directorate of Elections, with 97.5 percent of the ballots counted, Labour and four other center-left parties might gain a combined majority of 100 seats, up from the existing 81.

A majority in the 169-seat parliament requires a minimum of 85 MPs.

The 61-year-old millionaire who fought against socioeconomic inequities said, "Norway has sent a clear signal: the election shows that the Norwegian people want a fairer society."

Following the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on climate change in August, Norway's status as Western Europe's largest oil and gas producer was the forefront of the election campaign. The Greens urged an immediate end to oil exploration, while Store advocated for a gradual transition away from the oil economy. The Conservatives had also advocated for a shift away from the fossil fuels that had made Norway so prosperous.

In her concession statement, Solberg, 60, stated, "I want to congratulate Jonas Gahr Store, who now appears to have a clear majority for a change of government."

Store may need to persuade possible center-left allies to compromise on policies ranging from oil and private ownership to Norway's relations with the European Union to create a viable cabinet.

In a speech to party members, Store said, "We, as the largest party, will ensure that Norway gets a new government and a new course."

“I will invite the leaders of all parties who want a change in the coming days,” he said, adding that he would begin with the Centre Party and the Socialist Left.

The oil industry employs 160,000 people directly and accounts for 14 percent of Norway's GDP and 40 percent of its exports.

It has also aided the 5.4 million-strong country build the world's largest sovereign wealth fund, which is now valued at close to 12 trillion kroner ($1.4 trillion).

Store, a former minister in Jens Stoltenberg's government from 2005 to 2013, is anticipated to begin talks with the Centre, which mostly represents the concerns of its rural base, and the Socialist Left, which is a major supporter for environmental problems.

Store has also stated that he will reduce inequality by decreasing taxes for low and middle-income families while raising rates for the wealthy.

Publish : 2021-09-14 11:18:00

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