Norwegian Elections: Another Right-Wing Victory, and a Serious Labour Defeat

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin .... No. 1490 .... September 28, 2017

Norwegian Elections: Another Right-Wing Victory, and a Serious Labour Defeat

Asbjørn Wahl

The centre-left failed in getting rid of the so-called ‘blue-blue’ government at the parliamentary elections in Norway on 11 September. The Labour Party was the main loser, while small parties on the centre-left advanced slightly. However, the parliamentary basis of the right-wing government has started to unravel. A deeper political crisis may be looming in the background, while social contradictions are on the raise. Social Democracy followed the general European downward tendency (except Britain).

First, some basic facts on the Norwegian electoral system. There are 169 members of parliament, who are elected through proportional representation. The 19 counties serve as the electoral constituencies. There is a threshold of 4 percent to qualify... for the proportional distribution of representatives, although it is possible to win direct representation from the counties also if the national gain of votes is below the threshold. Two political parties won representation in that way.

In the previous four-year parliamentary period, Norway was governed by a minority government formed by the Conservative Party and the so-called Progress Party (a right-wing populist party). Therefore the name blue-blue government. It was supported by two other parties -- the Christian Democratic Party and the so-called Liberal Party (which in reality is neoliberal, but with a touch of green). This support was established through a formal agreement, but to secure a parliamentary majority for the government, it was sufficient with support from only one of those two parties.

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