The Norwegian Labor Party was on track for a clear victory in Monday’s parliamentary elections, defeating the conservatives of outgoing Prime Minister Erna Solberg with pledges to improve public services and allow the country’s lucrative oil industry to continue to drill for decades.
The center-left Labor Party was expected to win 48 of the 169 seats in parliament, according to the national broadcaster NRK, based on a tally of around 98% of the vote.
The Labor Party’s likely government partners – the center and the parties of the socialist left – were on track to secure 28 and 13 seats respectively, meaning a new three-party government would hold 89 seats and a majority of four. .
Solberg’s Tories and their allies were on their way to winning 68 seats.
“We have worked so hard, and now we can finally say that we have succeeded,” Labor leader Jonas Gahr Støre told supporters. “Voters have again become the largest party in the Norwegian Labor Party. “
Gahr Støre is now in a strong position to form the next government and assume the role of Prime Minister with a mandate to increase public investment in areas such as education and health care.
“The welfare state must embrace everyone and ensure good schools, world-class health care and generous care for our elderly, no matter who you are or where you live,” Labor said in his party’s program before the elections.
Like its sisterly social democratic parties in the Nordic countries, the Norwegian Labor Party has traditionally focused on building strong public services funded by relatively high tax rates, and has ruled Norway for much of the country. post-war period.
But the party has been out of power since 2013, when the Conservatives’ Solberg won over voters with promises of lower taxes and a more business-friendly regime.
The likely return of Labor to power in Norway underlines a revival of the political left in northern Europe, with left-wing leaders already in charge of the governments of the other four Nordic states: Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland.
Ahead of Monday’s election, it emerged that the coalition of Labor, Socialist Left and Center Party might not have a majority and need to seek Green Party support in parliament.
This in turn could have opened the door for the Greens to demand that Norway shut down its oil industry by 2035, a key part of the Green Party’s political platform. The Labor Party’s plan is to allow the oil industry to operate beyond 2050. But when the results arrived on Monday night, the prospect of greater Green Party influence faded.
Gahr Støre said he would start discussing with other party leaders – both within his favorite coalition group and outside – about the upcoming formation of a government.
“The real work is yet to be done,” he said. “Now we are going to change Norway, day in and day out, and do it together.”
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