It nearly shattered and created nightmares along the way, but Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s dream of forming and leading a conservative coalition government with a majority in Parliament finally came true Thursday night. She’ll now lead a coalition of her Conservatives, the Progress Party, the Liberals and the Christian Democrats.
Solberg announced agreement among the four parties on a new government platform by calling it “historic.” Her new government will be Norway’s first non-socialist majority government since 1985, and the first time the country’s once-powerful Christian Democrats will try to cooperate with the most right-wing party with representation in Parliament, Progress.
“We have, through good but tough negotiations, come together,” Solberg declared at Thursday night’s press conference in Oslo. “That shows that the four parties had the will to find solutions and make compromises. We stand together on values of building our society from the bottom, with more freedom to the individual and to local communities.” She claimed her new coalition will help ensure stability for the remainder of its term in office, despite all the labour pains in pulling it together.
Solberg, who’s led Norway’s government since defeating a Labour Party-led coalition in 2013, claimed that all four parties recognize that “things are going well in Norway,” with its strong social welfare system, a revived economy, ongoing job creation and relatively few social differences. Challenges remain, however, “and we must continue to improve Norway,” Solberg said.
No new ministers had been announced as of Friday morning and the coalition won’t officially win the constitutional nod needed from King Harald V until sometime next week. Solberg will remain as prime minister, however, with Progress’ Siv Jensen likely to remain as finance minister and Ine Eriksen Søreide as foreign minister.
The small and still deeply divided Christian Democrats are expected to receive three ministerial posts in Solberg’s new cabinet, with commentators speculating they’ll assume political control of the ministries in charge of children and family issues, elder care, foreign aid or possibly agriculture.
(We’ll be coming with more news about the new government’s platform and its prospects, along with the drama behind its formation, throughout the day.)