Norway’s Labor and centrist parties present minority government plan
Jonas Gahr StÃ¸re took his place as the new Norwegian Prime Minister, but not with the government he wanted. Here’s what to expect from Norway’s new minority government.
A few weeks ago, Norway went to the polls. The result was a clear victory for the center-left parties, but it remained to be seen exactly which parties would agree to form a government.
The Labor Party (Ap), Center Party (Sp) and Socialist Left (SV) in Norway were generally expected to form a coalition government to secure a majority in the new parliament. However, StÃ¸re’s dream majority government was not to be.
Instead, StÃ¸re and Sp leader Tryge Slagsvold Vedum came to an agreement. Together, the two parties hold 76 of the 169 seats in the Norwegian parliament.
Read more: Facts about the 2021 elections in Norway
Both parties have now presented the Hurdalsplattform, the combined agreement on their approach to governing Norway over the next four years. But before we delve into the details, let’s take a quick look at why Norway ended up with a minority government.
SV withdrew from talks
SV drastically walked out of coalition talks, leaving Ap and Sp to agree on a minority government. The pursuit of Norway’s oil and gas industry was a red line for SV, as well as fiscal policy.
“It is with great disappointment that we have to recognize that, in the opinion of the SV, there is no political basis to form a red-green government,” SV chief Audun Lysbakken said in a statement. press conference.
Four difficult years
SV’s decision made it easier for Ap and Sp to come to a general agreement, but StÃ¸re’s government faces four difficult years.
SV has said he will not be providing broad support to the government, so any changes to the law will require support from SV or other parties on a case-by-case basis.
This means that the new government will have to face opposition from the center-right but also from the extreme left and a multitude of pro-green parties. SV, Red, Green and the Liberal Party come from different parts of the political spectrum, but all have environmental views that are probably much more pro-green than the new government.
What to expect from the new government
StÃ¸re said that Ap and Sp “stand together on this project”. Known as the Hurdalsplattform, the agreement between Ap and Sp describes what we can expect from the new government over the next four years.
âIn some areas we have different points of view, we look at it differently, but then we find common ground,â StÃ¸re explained.
One of the hot topics is of course the future of the oil and gas industry. StÃ¸re said the government will toughen the country’s targets to cut emissions by 2030, but preserve the oil and gas sector.
It may seem like a contradiction. But of course, much of Norway’s oil and gas is actually used outside of Norway, so the resulting emissions are not factored into Norway’s totals.
The government has also confirmed that it will increase the country’s carbon tax to NOK 2,000 per tonne, from NOK 590 per tonne.
Tax benefits for “ordinary people”
During its four-year term, the new government plans to cut taxes for low-income people and also use the tax system to reduce child care costs and make electricity more affordable. High incomes can expect tax increases.
âNow Norway will have a government that listens to the people. We will not overtake the people, but we will work to reduce the differences socially and geographically, âsaid Trygve Slagsvold Vedum, leader of the Center party and the new Norwegian finance minister.
Other proposed tax changes include the reintroduction of MVA (sales tax) on expensive electric cars. There will also be changes to the wealth tax to raise the tax bill for some of Norway’s wealthiest people.
VAT will be applied to new electric vehicles sold for more than 600,000 crowns, while the new minority coalition proposes to reduce the wealth tax deductibles to ensure that the richest in society pay more.
EEA membership to be retained
Given the Center Party’s fierce opposition to the EU, the new government’s stance on Europe was always going to be interesting.
The government will retain its membership in the EEA, but will seek “leeway” within the framework.
Strengthening employment conditions
It was also announced that the two sides intend to focus on strengthening the culture of full-time employment in Norway by amending the Work Environment Act.
The government plans to improve working conditions, reduce the number of temporary positions and more tightly regulate the staffing and recruitment sector.
Cancel county reorganization
The Solberg government has introduced a controversial process to reduce the number of Norwegian counties through mergers. Viken and Troms og Finnmark will have the option to cancel their mergers.
What is happening now?
The outgoing government presented its state budget for 2022 as a final act in parliament. It is a plan that will have to be approved by Parliament.
This means that StÃ¸re and Vedum will have an early chance to signal their intentions with the proposed changes to the 2022 budget.