Alta in mourning, campaign halted

All the political parties in Norway’s northern city of Alta have halted their election campaigns following a helicopter crash during the weekend that killed everyone on board. Among the victims were the son and niece of local Progress Party politician Ronny Berg.  “We all think that it just feels completely wrong to keep campaigning in […]

Solberg wards off government crisis

Prime Minister Erna Solberg finally got her three government coalition partners to agree late Friday night on a new compromise for financing transport improvements. The plan aims to reduce the need for local governments to impose more controversial bompenger (road tolls),  after months of noisy public opposition to higher tolls all over the country.  The […]

Støre ‘ready’ to take over government

His Labour Party is falling in the polls and his personal popularity is low. Labour leader Jonas Gahr Støre has nonetheless confirmed that he stands ready to take over as Norway’s prime minister if Erna Solberg’s government coalition crashes because of disagreement over road tolls. Labour is always prepared to assume government responsibility if it’s […]

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 […]