Latest Stories

Wealthy Norway swings right in election

Norway`s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg , right, and main opposition leader Erna Solberg leave the building after an appearance in a TV show in Oslo Sunday night, Sept. 8, 2013. Solberg, 52, is the nation’s next prime minister, based on early projections on Monday. AP PHOTO /FREDRIK VARFJELL, NTB SCANPIX

OSLO—Norway shifted right in elections Monday, setting the stage for a new Conservative-led government with the anti-immigrant Progress Party, two years after Muslim-hating Anders Behring Breivik’s deadly rampage.

Early projections reported by the government’s statistical office immediately after voting ended at 9 p.m. (1900 GMT) showed the four parties on the center-right winning 93 of the 169 seats in parliament.

According to the same projections, the center-left coalition led by incumbent Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, in power since 2005, won 75 seats, while an extreme leftist party garnered one seat.

The most often-cited scenario is a minority government made up of the Conservatives and the Progress Party. The smaller Christian Democrats and the Liberals would not be in the government due to disagreements with the populist right, but would provide backing in parliament to pass legislation.

Based on this scenario, Conservative Party leader Erna Solberg, 52, is the nation’s next prime minister.

Solberg’s victory comes in spite of the fact that the oil-rich nation has fared exceptionally well under Stoltenberg, also the leader of the Labor Party.

“The country is doing pretty well, but that’s because of the oil, not because of the leaders,” said a 29-year-old voter as he emerged from exercising his democratic right at Oslo’s city hall.

Having cast his ballot in favor of the Progress Party, he added: “It’s time to get a new government”.

Stoltenberg’s two consecutive terms mark an unusually long tenure, even in politically stable Norway.

During this period, he has steered the nation through Europe’s worst post-war economic crisis, warding off any threat to Norway’s very high standard of living.

“Even if many things are going well, there are always many things that could go even better,” Stoltenberg told the TV2 news network earlier Monday.

Significantly, one of the top election issues was the proper use of Norway’s oil fund, which at $750 billion (570 billion euros) is the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund.

Given the general material wealth, and the lack of any serious discontent in society, the weak showing of Stoltenberg’s coalition is mostly put down to power fatigue.

“Norway is one of the richest countries in the world, if not the richest, but the generation who made the nation what it is today is not getting to harvest the fruits,” said retiree Espen Ek, who added he had voted “for change.”

Stoltenberg’s coalition was also criticized for the authorities’ failure to prevent Breivik’s July 22, 2011, attacks. The xenophobic extremist killed 77 people when he set off a van bomb at the foot of the government offices in Oslo before opening fire on a Labor youth camp on nearby Utoeya island.

In an ironic twist, the right-wing’s victory is expected to open the door for the Progress Party to join government for the first time in its 40-year history.

The party, which counted Breivik among its members until 2006, has condemned the attacks and has also toned down its rhetoric on immigrants, of which Norway received 70,000 last year, including 25,000 non-Europeans.

No one in Norway associates the party with the carnage wrought by the right-wing extremist—an issue that has been conspicuous by its absence from the campaign.

Instead, the issues that dominated the run-up to the election were healthcare, education, taxes and what to do with Norway’s vast oil wealth.

The Progress Party, led by Siv Jensen, received 30 seats according to the early projections, down by 11 seats from the last election in 2009.

It was unclear if Stoltenberg would immediately concede defeat.

The Aftenposten daily and other local media reported that Stoltenberg would probably postpone any final announcement until after it was clear if the Conservatives would be able to form a government.—Peter Harmsen

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Elections , Norway , vote

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  2. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  3. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  4. Sandigan junks Marcos family claim to Paoay property
  5. Delfin Lee: Blame Pag-Ibig, not me
  6. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  7. San Juan cops fail to arrest Cedric Lee
  8. Maid confesses in killing of 2 and stabbing of employer in Laguna
  9. More ‘Yolanda’ bodies found
  10. Vitangcol to sue Czech envoy
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  3. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  4. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  8. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  9. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima


  • Ex-church leader nabbed for selling drugs
  • Camilla’s brother dies in US after head injury
  • Luisita farmers storm DAR compound
  • Trillanes, Ejercito confident they are not in Napoles’ list
  • Easterlies to prevail in Luzon, Visayas
  • Sports

  • Heat go up 2-0, hold off Bobcats 101-97
  • Ronaldo shakes off injury fears to play Bayern
  • Mavs roll past Spurs 113-92, even series at 1-1
  • Phelps having fun in his return to swimming
  • Murray breaks down in tears at Scottish ceremony
  • Lifestyle

  • Photos explore dynamics of youths’ sexual identity
  • 12th Philippine Food Expo set at the World Trade Center
  • No tourist draw, Malang the croc will remain wild
  • The best flavors of summer in one bite, and more
  • Homemade yogurt, bread blended with pizza, even ramen
  • Entertainment

  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • Sony developing live-action Barbie comedy
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Return of ‘Ibong Adarna’
  • Practical Phytos plans his future
  • Business

  • Facebook profits triple as mobile soars
  • Insular Honors Sales Performers at Testimonial Rites
  • Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock
  • Cost-recovery provisions for affected gencos urged
  • This time, BIR goes after florists
  • Technology

  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos in Middle East urged to get clearance before returning
  • PH seeks ‘clearer assurance’ from US
  • China and rivals sign naval pact to ease maritime tensions
  • What Went Before: Manila bus hostage crisis
  • Obama arrives in Tokyo, first stop of 4-nation tour
  • Marketplace