Norway’s huge new county of Viken is now due to be split up into the three counties that initially formed it, after politicians involved finally seem to have agreed on a much-desired, if expensive, divorce. Other counties are likely to split up as well.
Divorce proceedings have been most difficult in Viken, but fully 97 of 100 Labour Party politicians ended up going along with the split at a meeting over the weekend. A few top Labour leaders in the former Akershus County who thought Labour would gain more local power if Viken stayed together ended up changing their minds under pressure and going along with the majority.
Majorities in the former Buskerud and Østfold counties had already agreed to split up the county, with Labour veteran Martin Kolberg stressing that Viken had “just become too large” and difficult to manage.
Other proposed de-mergers are also expected that would restore the counties of Telemark and Vestfold, Oppland and Hedmark and, up north, Finnmark and Troms. The former Conservative government’s forced mergers were wildly unpopular and proved to be a financial burden instead of a cost-savings move.