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Centre-left Labour Party leader Jonas Gahr Støre is set to become Norway's next prime minister after the left-leaning 'red bloc' of parties won a majority in the 13 September legislative election, ousting Prime Minister Erna Solberg's centre-right Conservative Party-led 'blue bloc' from power after eight years. While it is clear that the parties of the left will come into power, Støre will still need to lead coalition negotiations to settle on which parties will be included in gov't and how the ministerial posts are distributed between parties.

  • The historic 'red bloc' parties - Støre's Labour, the agrarian Centre Party, and the left-wing Socialist Left Party - hold a combined 89 seats in the 169-member Storting (parliament), meaning that they do not have to include any other parties in coalition talks if they can all agree to work together. Støre has stated that he could also talk to the environmentalist Greens or the far-left communist Red Party if required, although these parties' unorthodox policy stances makes their inclusion in gov't unlikely.
  • The change in gov't is unlikely to lead to any major market-moving policy changes, with Labour as supportive of the continued operation Norway's hydrocarbon sector as the Conservatives. The Centre Party and Socialist Left remain broadly eurosceptic and have advocated changes to Norway's relations with the EU, but Labour remain in favour of continued EEA membership and therefore any change in this area is unlikely.
  • The blue bloc suffered significant losses, with Solberg's Conservatives down nine seats, the right-wing populist Progress Party losing six seats, and the social conservative Christian Democrats losing five seats.
  • One new party entered parliament, the single-issue Patient Focus. The party won a seat in the most northerly electoral districy of Finnmark, where it campaigns for an expansion of the Alta Hospital.
Chart 1. Norway 13 September Election Result, Seats

Source: algresultat.no, MNI

  • Much has been made of the seeming revival of centre-left social democratic parties in Europe following a fallow period in the late 2010s. With Labour set to lead the next Norwegian gov't it will mean all five Nordic nations will be led by left or centre-left prime ministers: Social Democrats Stefan Lofven (and his successor) in Sweden, Sanna Marin in Finland, Mette Frederiksen in Denmark, head of the Left-Green Movement Katrin Jakkobsdottir in Iceland, and soon Labour's Støre in Norway.