Norway's election winners to meet in bid to form majority government

by Reuters
Thursday, 23 September 2021 06:57 GMT

By Terje Solsvik

OSLO, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Norway's centre-left election winners meet on Thursday for three-way talks to determine whether they can form a majority coalition government, with oil, taxes and EU relations https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/norway-should-reclaim-energy-regulation-eu-eurosceptic-opposition-says-2021-08-10 among the sticking points https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/norway-should-reclaim-energy-regulation-eu-eurosceptic-opposition-says-2021-08-10.

Labour, the Socialists and the Centre Party won a majority https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/norway-opposition-expected-win-election-fought-oil-inequality-2021-09-13 of seats in Norway's parliament on Sept. 13, beating the ruling Conservative-led government, with a transfer of power likely to take place next month.

Labour leader Jonas Gahr Stoere, who is expected to become Norway's next prime minister https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/winner-norways-election-is-wealthy-champion-common-people-2021-09-13, has during the last week held individual meetings with Centre Party leader Trygve Slagsvold Vedum and the Socialist Left's Audun Lysbakken.

But Thursday's gathering at a resort an hour's drive north of Oslo is believed to be the first time the three will sit down together since the election.

Billed as exploratory talks, the initial phase is set to determine whether detailed negotiations should be opened next week, or if Stoere has to settle for ruling in a minority.

Norway's status as an oil and gas producer, contributing to climate change, was at the heart of the election campaign https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/climate-change-election-spotlight-oil-giant-norway-2021-08-31, although a transition away from petroleum is likely to be gradual despite progress by pro-environment parties.

Norway's oil and gas industry pumps around 4 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, accounting for over 40% of export revenues, although output is projected to fall from 2030 onwards.

The Socialist Party wants to halt all exploration for new resources, which would hasten the oil industry's decline, but Labour and Centre have rejected this position.

Labour is wary of potential job losses from petroleum's demise, and champions state-sponsored policies to encourage a transfer of engineering know-how from oil production to renewable energy.

Norway's incumbent government, led by Conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg, conceded the election on Sept. 13 and will step down as soon as Labour is ready to form a cabinet.

(Editing by Gwladys Fouche and Giles Elgood)

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