by Gjermund E Jansen
Tue Sep 13th, 2005 at 02:32:40 AM EST
From the diaries (with minor edits) ~ whataboutbob
The wind of election seems to blow over Europe this year and on Monday the 12th of September it reached Norway just a week before the grand finale in Germany. The results from the Norwegian election so far, when 91 percent of the ballots had been counted, seems to signal a changing of the guard from the centre-right government led by Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik
of the Christian Peoples Party, to a new red-green government led by the Labour party leader Jens Stoltenberg.
The two victors of the parliamentary election were the Labour Party which ended up with 32.6 percent of the votes and 62 parliamentary representatives and the far right Progress Party with 22.1 percent of the total votes and 37 parliamentary representatives out of a total 169 of representatives in the Norwegian parliament.
The first polls turned out very well in favour of the new red-green coalition, but as the election campaign progressed the centre-right government slammed the red-green opposition and labelled it a political experiment with no hope of survival. At the very end of the campaign the centre-right government gained support and the election seemed to end up in a tie with no clear outcome. It was not before the poll stations closed at eight o'clock on Monday that the political commentators could sense in which direction the political winds would blow ending up in a preliminary 88 to 81 in parliamentary seats in favour of the red-green coalition.
During the post-election party leader debate the three centre-right coalition partners blamed the leader of the Progress Party Carl. I. Hagen for withdrawing his party's support for their government coalition and thus creating insecurity about the life of the centre-right government after the election.
Mr. Hagen had given the centre-right government coalition an ultimatum in June saying that if they were not prepared to let him join the government after the election he would withdraw his support for the coalition. The idea was to isolate and outmanoeuvre the incumbent Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik and go into government talks with the other two government coalition parties in an effort to create a majority government including the Progress Party. But the plan backfired when the other two parties' of the centre-right government declined Mr. Hagen's offer and instead swore their allegiance to the Prime Minister.
The Labour party leader Jens Stoltenberg used Mr. Hagen's withdrawl of his support to the incumbent government for what it was worth during the last weeks of the campaign. Hammering one nail after the other into the centre-right government coffin, he pointed to the fact that now, with a minority backing in the parliament, the centre-right coalition was dead and that the only realistic government alternative after the election was in fact the red-green coalition.
This article is also available at Bitsofnews.com.