| 19 May 2024, Sunday |

Norway’s election winners meet in bid to form majority government

On Thursday, the victors of Norway’s center-left election met for three-way negotiations to see whether they can create a majority coalition government, with oil, taxation, and EU ties among the sticking issues.

On September 13, Labor, the Socialists, and the Center Party gained a majority of seats in Norway’s parliament, defeating the current Conservative-led government, with a power transition expected next month.

Labour leader Jonas Gahr Stoere, who is likely to become Norway’s next prime minister, has met with Trygve Slagsvold Vedum of the Centre Party and Audun Lysbakken of the Socialist Left during the previous week.

But Thursday’s gathering at a resort an hour’s drive north of Oslo is believed to be the first time the three will sit down together since the election.

“We have had a clear mandate in the election for a change… and we are going to discuss how to make this change happen,” Stoere told reporters. “I am very optimistic about this.”

The initial round, billed as exploratory discussions, will determine whether comprehensive negotiations should begin next week or if Stoere has settle with ruling in a minority.

Despite advances by pro-environment parties, Norway’s status as an oil and gas producer, which contributes to climate change, was at the center of the election campaign. However, a shift away from petroleum is expected to be gradual.

Its oil and gas industry produces about 4 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, providing for more than 40% of export income, however output is expected to decline starting in 2030.

The Socialist Party wants to halt all exploration for new resources, which would hasten the oil industry’s decline, but Labor and Centre have rejected this position.

Labor is wary of potential job losses from petroleum’s demise, and champions state-sponsored policies to encourage a transfer of engineering know-how from oil production to renewable energy.

Norway’s incumbent government, led by Conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg, conceded the election on Sept. 13 and will step down as soon as Labor is ready to form a cabinet.

  • Reuters