Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Norway shifts right

Norwegians went to the polls yesterday in national elections, and thrown out its left-wing government. The Conservatives will now try and put together a right-wing coalition, but there's a sticking point: their path to power requires the support of the anti-immigration Progress Party, the party of mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik. Even before Breivik's crime, Progress was considered beyond the political pale, and excluded from government; in its wake, it is likely to be considered even more tainted. While Conservative leader Erna Solberg could bring them into Cabinet, that is likely to cause problems with the smaller coalition parties, the Liberals and Christian Democrats, who regard Progress as toxic. If Noway is lucky, they'll get a right-wing minority government, supported by Progress on confidence and supply, as they did in 2001. If not, things could get interestingly unstable.

(Norway provides a counterexample to the pluralitarian rhetoric put about here by National. Norway's Labour Party has always been the largest party in their Parliament, but it hasn't always been in government, because the latter depends on holding a majority of seats, not on merely being the biggest loser).