Norway’s red-green coalition re-elected

Norwegian Prime Minster Jens Stoltenberg’s red-green coalition has won 86 of the 169 seats in parliament, one seat less than it did in four years ago, according to results published Tuesday.

The centre-left coalition was re-elected Monday to another four- year term after strong gains for its main member, Stoltenberg’s Labour Party, which garnered 35.5 per cent of the vote.

The party is to remain the largest in parliament, with a projected 64 seats, up three from 2005. Labour’s strong showing countered a drop for one of its junior coalition partners, the Socialist Left Party, which dropped four seats to 11.

The latest tallies suggested the Centre Party would keep its 11 seats.

Coalition partners are to hold talks on a new government platform. The three parties differ on among other issues, whether oil and gas drilling should be allowed in sensitive areas off Norway’s northwestern coast.

Voter turnout in the election that has, for the first time in 16 years, returned a Norwegian government to office, was estimated at 73.8 per cent of 3.5 million eligible voters. Participation in 2005 was 77.4 per cent.

The main challengers to the Stoltenberg-led coalition were the right-wing Progress Party of Siv Jensen and the Conservative party led by Erna Solberg.

Both parties made gains but the non-socialist bloc failed to grab power from the red-greens due to poor results for the smaller Christian Democrats and Liberal Party.

Liberal Party leader Lars Sponheim lost his seat and said he would resign over the poor showing. Sponheim defended his refusal to cooperate with the Progress Party over its calls for tighter immigration controls.

Solberg was credited with running a strong campaign that saw her party gain seven seats and some 3 percentage points to 17 per cent. ‘We have won the elections,’ she said, adding that she had hoped for a new government.

Jensen meanwhile said she was ‘proud’ over the party’s ‘best result ever’ after the party secured its position as second strongest party with 41 seats, up three seats.


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