Government loses voter support

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The latest public opinion poll shows that Norway’s left-center coalition government has lost voter support once again. One of the government parties, the small Center Party, wouldn’t even quality for representation in Parliament if its poll results had been an election.

Norway's Labour-led left-center government keeps losing voter support. PHOTO: Regjeringen.no/Scanpix

The Center Party, now under investigation for suspected misappropriation of campaign funds, only secured 3.7 percent of the vote in the poll conducted by research firm InFact for newspaper VG. That’s under the 4 percent needed to qualify for seats in Parliament and marks a decline of 0.8 points since the last poll in December.

Only the coalition’s dominant Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet, Ap) edged forward, attracting 26.3 percent of the vote, up 0.6 points from December but still well below the 35.4 percent it won in the last national election in September 2009.

The coalition’s third government party, the Socialist Left (SV), also lost voter confidence despite its popular but lone support for rejected refugee Maria Amelie. SV claimed 5.8 percent of the vote in the VG poll, down nearly a full point from December.

It’s the Center Party that’s doing the worst, compared to the 6.2 percent it claimed after the last election. All told, the three parties forming Norway’s government could collectively claim just 35.8 percent of the vote in the new poll.

The Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet, Frp) regained its spot at Norway’s largest party in the poll, with 27.4 percent. The Conservatives (Høyre) slipped to 24.7 percent, down two-and-a-half full points from its December standing. Together, they have a majority, though, and are likely to cooperate in the run-up to the next election in 2013 in the hopes of forming a non-socialist government.

Election researcher and professor Frank Aarebrot said the government was losing popularity because of “its own self-induced problems,” including internal dissent over hospital reform, the controversial power masts along the Hardanger Fjord and the Amelie case. “They’re creating an impression that it’s the bureaucrats who run the country,” Aarebrot told VG. “The ice-cold bureaucratic way of thinking, which has quashed the will of the people time and time again, is showing itself right now.”

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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