Road tolls can cost the state dearly

Finance Minister Siv Jensen’s Progress Party reignited the Norwegian government’s internal battle over bompenger (road tolls) on Sunday. The ongoing battle is still threatening to unravel Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s conservative coalition, as confusion and uncertainty reign just weeks before local elections. It’s the local governments around Norway that actually set road tolls in their own […]

Tempers rise over Greens’ ‘socialism’

Morning radio listeners got an earfull on Thursday, when the ever-provocative deputy leader of Norway’s conservative Progress Party, Sylvi Listhaug, accused the Greens Party of furthering socialism and “nanny state” policies aimed at “tearing down” much of what Norway has built up for generations. “Utter nonsense,” retorted her counterpart from the Greens, Arild Hermstad, during […]

Voters reject both Progress, Liberals

Norwegian voters seem to be abandoning two of the parties that make up Norway’s conservative government coalition, less than a month before important local elections. The once-high-flying Progress Party hasn’t had such little support since the early 1980s, while the Liberal Party keeps losing voters at an embarrassing rate. A new public opinion poll conducted […]

Election campaign off to a noisy start

NEWS ANALYSIS: Norway’s normally polite politicians were all but shrieking at one another during state broadcaster NRK’s nationally televised party leader debate Monday night. It got the campaign leading up to next month’s local elections off to an unusually noisy start, with road tolls and property tax still emerging as the most heated issues. Sparks […]

Mergers may plague local elections

Forced mergers between lots of Norwegian counties and municipalities have created new tension and uncertainty in the run-up to next month’s local elections. Researchers aren’t sure whether the mergers will activate more democracy and mobilize voters, or whether voters have turned apathetic and won’t bother to cast a ballot. “Most Norwegians have a close relationship […]

‘Arendalsuka wastes taxpayers’ money’

Top politicians, state officials, journalists and not least lobbyists are gathering in the scenic coastal town of Arendal again this week, to see and be seen, and debate major issues of the day. The head of Norway’s Center Party, who normally promotes ventures outside of Oslo, calls it all “a huge waste of taxpayers’ money.” […]

Local mayor dies in boat accident

Members of Norway’s hard-pressed Labour Party were among those in mourning on Thursday, after one of their local mayors was killed in a boat accident during the night. Her partner, who also served as a top local official, was killed as well. Ingrid Aune, the 33-year-old mayor of Malvik just east of Trondheim, and her […]

Union donor wants Center on the left

Norway’s large trade union federation Fagforbundet doesn’t want the Center Party to “flirt” with parties on the non-socialist side of Norwegian politics. Since it’s the party’s biggest single donor, it may well get its way. “We have a clear message to the Center Party,” federation leader Mette Nord told newspaper Klassekampen this week. “It must seek […]

Political ‘D-Day’ tests democracy

NEWS ANALYSIS: “Is Norway still a democracy?” read the headline on a letter to the editor of the country’s biggest newspaper, Aftenposten, this week. It reflected the indignation of Norwegian voters who don’t understand how a small party like the Christian Democrats, voting on their political direction on Friday, could actually threaten to bring down […]

Labour sinks into a post-election ‘crisis’

NEWS ANALYSIS: The Norwegian Labour Party and especially its embattled leader, Jonas Gahr Støre, have been clobbered by yet another rash of terrible poll results. They show how Labour voters are still fleeing to other parties, that Støre is far from favoured as a prime minister candidate and now, that less than half of Labour’s […]