Led by the 61-year-old Norwegian politician and millionaire, Jonas Gahr Støre, the country’s centre-left party has had a runaway victory in the election, due to a campaign influenced by the prospects of the oil industry.
According to a forecast from an initial calculation of almost 93% of votes, the country’s Labour Party, as well as the Centre Party and Socialist Left, will hold 100 seats in the country’s Stortinget assembly, which contains 169 seats. However, the current Conservative government would only have 68, as one of the seats was reportedly “still unsure.”
According to Euronews, The Centre Party got almost 14% of the votes. This is an increase of 3.6 percentage points. The party’s leader, Trygve Slagsvold Vedum, who was a former farmer, stated that the party “had become the third-largest group in Stortinget after Labour and the Conservatives.”
Jonas Gahr Støre said: “The parties that have said they want a new government and a new way for the country seem to have a large majority.”
Støre added: “Norway has sent a clear signal: the election shows that the Norwegian people want a fairer society.”
Al Jazeera reports that Støre may need to encourage left-leaning allies to reach an agreement over various policies, such as how the country deals with the European Union, as well as private ownership and the oil industry.
“In the coming days, I will invite the leaders of all parties who want a change,” Støre said, and also mentioned that he was considering the Socialist Left as well as the Centre party for this purpose.
Alongside the obvious indication of a Labour victory from the voting results, opinion polls had predicted that the Conservative Party would be in a disadvantageous position.
Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, congratulated Støre for his success and indicated that she expected her party’s loss. She said: “We knew we needed a miracle … the Conservatives’ work session is over.”
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Although Norway’s major parties have an advantage when it comes to size, Euronews reports that the minor parties are mostly a necessity to create a “majority coalition.” Minor parties can also have an exceptionally large impact on the government’s goals.
The New York Times reports that the success of the Labour party is indicative of the rising political role of Europe’s political left and the likelihood that it will enter power and ultimately form a nation’s agenda on the climate issue. Thus, this may well happen in Germany’s forthcoming general election, which will be held in two weeks.
To better understand what is in store for Norway, it helps to know who is Jonas Gahr Støre, the new leader coming out of the elections.
Who is Jonas Gahr Støre?
Jonas Gahr Støre, who is married to the sociologist, Marit Slagsvold, earned a degree in political science from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris in France in 1985. Støre has held “several senior posts” in the government, from 1989. And from this year to 1998, the father-of-three was the Prime Minister’s Diplomatic Advisor. His career has been marked with several important public posts, including at the World Health Organisation (1998-2000); in the Norwegian government with Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg (2000-01); as Secretary-General of the Norwegian Red Cross (2003-05); and more recently serving as Foreign Affairs Minister (2005-12) and Minister of Health for Norway (2012-13).
Having been an MP since 2009, Støre is currently a Member of Parliament from Oslo as well as a member of the country’s Standing Committee on Finance.
Støre’s wealth comes from the “sale of a family stove manufacturing company” that was prevented from insolvency by his grandfather. Despite amassing such a fortune, Støre insists that he is just like the average person. He said: “My finances are not ordinary, but many things about me are.”
Støre wants Norway to lead the way when it comes to the funding of climate change projects and climate change adaptation within the developing world. He also wants to see a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions, which has been caused by “international air travel and shipping” and would like the country to be carbon neutral by 2030.
So whilst Norway prepares for the new Labour government, the climate issue may be tackled more seriously, especially with the input of the Socialist Left and the Centre Party who might enrich the country’s policies. It also might reflect a general shift in the European electorate as people are increasingly concerned by climate change and thus herald a possible victory for the political left and the greens in the upcoming German elections.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by Impakter.com columnists are their own, not those of Impakter.com.— In the Featured Photo: a ballot paper entering a box. Featured Photo Credit: Element5 Digital