After eight years, Erna Solberg’s tenure as prime minister ended last night: Norway made a left turn and a centre-left government will take over.
Shortly after 11PM on Monday (13 September), Solberg placed a congratulatory call to Jonas Gahr Støre, the leader of the Arbeiderpartiet (Labour party) and the all-but certain next prime minister of the country.
In his victory speech, Støre underlined that a large majority of Norwegians voted for a change in government. The five parties on the left on the political spectrum are poised for a sizeable majority in Stortinget, the Norwegian parliament – as many as 100 out of 169 seats, according to preliminary results.
Støre said he will now start negotiating with the two parties that make up what he calls his “dream coalition” – SV (the Socialist Left party) and Senterpartiet (the Centre party). This would mean a restoration of the last centre-left government from 2005 to 2013.
The preliminary results show that the three parties will get more than the 85 seats required for a majority in Stortinget. Had he fallen short, Støre would also have needed support from the MDG (Green party) and the old Maoist party Rødt (the Red party).
While the election result is a big victory for Støre personally, whose leadership tenure has been haunted by the 2017 election defeat, his Arbeiderpartiet only received 26.4 percent of the vote.
This is the worst election result for Norway’s leading social democratic party in 20 years, and the second straight election where the party’s share of the vote decreased.