The Conservatives, the anti-immigrant populists of the Progress Party, both parts of the ruling government coalition and their support parties in Parliament, the Liberals and the Christian Democrats, lost support during yesterday’s general elections in Norway, between them they losing 5.1 per cent of the vote and six seats in Parliament.
Among the left, this was thought to be the election that was “impossible not to win” and, indeed, both the Socialist Left Party and the smaller Red Party did very well in the elections, the latter in even taking a seat in parliament for the first time in twenty years while the Socialist Left Party gained four more seats than in the last period.
The definite winner of the election, however, was the Centre Party. With its base among people in the countryside, the party’s loud campaigning against centralisation and wolves upped its parliamentary group with eight new seats.
The left actually got some thousand votes more than the right but, because of the electoral system, the right managed to capture more seats. The Labour Party, once known as “the eagle among political parties” had one of its worst elections ever. While soaring to around 40 per cent in the polls as late as last year, Labour plummeted to an abysmal 27.4 per cent of the votes cast. While the right-wing lost some seats and the radical left gained seats, the Labour Party lost six seats in parliament and, thus, any possibility of governing.
Jonas Gahr Støre, head of the Labour Party, has been criticised for sounding too much like the Conservatives. Other critics claim that he is vague and nebulous. The multi-millionaire former Conservative most certainly does not look or sound like a Social Democrat and is a visible symbol of a Labour that has broken up with its old voters, leaning more and more towards the political centre of politics, a centre that has shifted towards the right.
Støre’s flirtation with both the Liberals and Christian Democrats during his election campaign was probably what drove thousands of voters to the radical left parties and also left many former Labour voters sitting on the fence.
The Liberals and Christian Democrats were punished hard by their voters, barely keeping themselves above the 4 per cent election threshold that allows for so-called levelling seats in parliament, and thus also barely securing a right wing majority.
The election result comes after an election campaign where all the stunts of immigration minister Sylvi Listhaug were given prominent space in the media…as when she went to Sweden to show how terrible everything was there because of immigration and her Swedish counterpart actually refused to meet her.
The other parties have had problems countering this populist style of running an election campaign and thus everybody ended up discussing the Progress Party and not more important issues like taxes, work conditions, welfare cutbacks and other issues that normally would be important before and during an election.
Meanwhile, Erna Solberg/s Conservative/Progress Party coalition continues to govern at the mercy of a weakened and dwindling Christian Democratic Party that havs declared that it no longer supports her government. When and if the government will fall, depends on the Christian Democrats.