Still unclear who’ll rule in Oslo
September 14, 2011
Fabian Stang of the Conservative Party will retain his job as mayor of Oslo, but politicians in Norway’s capital are still negotiating which parties will make up its city government, known as byrådet. Changes loom after the Progress Party’s heavy loss in local elections.
The Conservative Party (Høyre) and the Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet, Frp) have shared power in Oslo for the past several years. While the Conservatives scored a major election victory this week, though, the Progress Party saw its voter support cut in half, meaning that its representation on the city council (bystyret) has dropped from nine to just four spots.
On Wednesday it became clear that veteran politician and former Progress Party leader Carl I Hagen will assume one of the positions on the council, along with Øystein G Sjøtveit, Jøran Kallmyr and Mazyar Keshvari.
It remained unclear, though, whether the Progress Party will join the governing byråd. The Liberal Party (Venstre), which contrary to its name is on the conservative side of politics in Norway, emerged as bigger than the Progress Party and is being invited by the Conservatives to join the government it wants to head. But the Liberals have said they won’t sit in a government with the Progress Party, and the Progress Party has said it won’t support a non-socialist government that it’s not part of.
So the Conservatives are stuck for now, with meetings set for Monday to try to come to terms with the three other non-socialist parties involved: Progress, Liberal and the Christian Democrats (Kristelig Folkeparti, KrF). The latter only won 2.5 percent of the vote in Oslo, but may hold clout as a centrist party.
The Conservatives want to have all four non-socialist parties in the byråd. They will settle for three, two or even rule alone, but then they’d be a minority government facing constant potential opposition from the council.
Since the Liberals now seem to have rebuffed overtures from the Labour Party, which also did well in the elections, Labour appears destined to be in the opposition for the next four years. The Conservatives will dominate a new city government Oslo and be led by byrådsleder Stian Berger Røsland, who beat out Labour’s Libe Rieber-Mohn for the job.
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