A Guide to 2013 Norway Election

Norway is having a new election excitement. One of the most striking fact about the election is Stoltenberg’s trial for the third term. He was previously defeated in the 2001 parliamentary election, but won both the 2005 parliamentary election and the 2009 parliamentary election. It will be the third election for the Red-Green Coalition, which was formed in 2005. Conservative Party (Høyre) and its leader Erna Solberg seems to be the biggest opponent of the prime minister.

Although the opposition received more votes in the previous election, the governing Red-Green Coalition obtained more seats in parliament. The election polls also show that conservative parties may take over the government. But the big question is who will form the government with whom. The third biggest party, FrP is a disputed issue as almost none of the parties want a coalition with them due to their fierce immigration rhetoric. 

But the biggest surprise of this year’s election is the abrupt rise of environmentalist Green Party. The party managed to climb up to 4th place among 20 participating political parties.  Pirate Party, People’s List Against Oil Drilling in Lofoten,   Hospital to Alta, Coastal Party and Pensioners’ Party are other salient participants of the elections.

All Participating Parties

  • Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet), leader: Jens Stoltenberg. The Labour Party was the largest party in the 2009–2013 Storting, and the majority party in Stoltenberg’s Second Cabinet. They got 35.4% of the votes and won 64 seats in the 2009 election. The party is primarily social democratic.
  • Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet), leader: Siv Jensen. The Progress Party is the largest opposition party in the current Storting, but have been the third-largest party in most public opinion polls of early 2013. The party is primarily right-libertarian, with conservative and nationalist factions.
  • Conservative Party (Høyre), leader: Erna Solberg. The Conservative Party is the second-largest opposition party in the current Storting, with 17.2% of the votes in the last elections. However, the party has been the largest opposition party in most of the public opinion polls in early 2013.
  • Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Vensterparti), leader: Audun Lysbakken. The Socialist Left Party is the second-largest government party. It is a democratic socialist party.
  • Centre Party (Senterpartiet), leader: Liv Signe Navarsete. The Centre Party is the third-largest party in the current government. It is agrarian, staunchly eurosceptic and serves the interests of farmers and people in rural areas.
  • Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti), leader: Knut Arild Hareide. The Christian Democratic Party is represented with 10 members of the current Storting.
  • Liberal Party (Venstre), leader: Trine Skei Grande. The Liberal Party is a centrist, green and liberal party. They earned 3.9% of the votes in the 2009 elections, and thus they were only represented with 2 seats in parliament, due to their failure at passing the electoral threshold of 4% on a nation-wide scale.
  • Red Party (Rødt), leader: Bjørnar Moxnes. The Red Party is a marxist political party of the radical left. They failed to get any parliamentary seats in the 2009 general election, with their 1.3% of the votes.
  • Pensioners’ Party (Pensjonistpartiet), leader: Einar Lonstad. Following the last legislative election in Norway, the Pensioners’ Party became the 9th largest party, with 0.4% of the votes. The party primarily serves to promote the interests of pensioners and elderly people. They will only run in 12 counties.
  • Green Party (Miljøpartiet de Grønne), leader: Hanna Marcussen, Harald A. Nissen. The Greens experienced what has been described as a breakthrough in the 2011 Norwegian local elections, and have since been considered as a serious competitor in the upcoming election.
  • Christian Unity Party (Kristent Samlingsparti), leader: Morten Selven. The party is a Christian ultra-conservative party. They received 0.2% of the votes in the 2009 election. They will run in only 12 counties.
  • The Christians (De Kristne), leader: Erik Selle. The party, founded in 2011 in Bømlo, participated in the local elections in Bømlo and received 6.5% of the votes and two representatives in the local council. The party is founded on Christian conservative values, and is considered to be between the Christian Democratic and the Christian Unity parties on the political spectrum. It will run in all counties.
  • The Democrats (Demokratene i Norge), leader: Elisabeth Rue Strencbo. A far-right nationalist and populist party, it received 0.1% of the votes in the 2009 election. They will run in all counties.
  • Liberal People’s Party (Det Liberale Folkeparti), leader: Vegard Martinsen. The party is libertarian, and advocates minimal government. They received below 0.1% percent of the votes in the 2009 election, and will only run in 6 counties.
  • Coastal Party (Kystpartiet), leader: Bengt Stabrun Johansen. A national conservative party, known for defending the rights of fishermen and whalers in Northern Norway. They received 0,2% of the votes in the 2009 elections, but has been as high as 10%, in the county of Nordland, in 2001, when they also secured a single seat in the parliament, held by well-known whaling activist Steinar Bastesen. The party will run in all counties.
  • Pirate Party (Piratpartiet), leader: Øystein Jakobsen. Founded on the basis of the better-known international Pirate Parties in late 2012. Their main cause is transparency in government. This will be their first election. They will run in all counties.
  • Communist Party (Norges Kommunistiske Parti), leader: Svend Haakon Jacobsen. The Marxist-Leninist party is one of the oldest in Norway, dating back to 1923. They received under 0.1% of the votes in the 2009 election. They will run in 7 counties.
  • People’s List Against Oil Drilling in Lofoten, VesterÃ¥len and Senja (Folkeliste mot oljeboring i Lofoten, VesterÃ¥len og Senja), first candidate: Øystein Meier Johannessen. A single issue party against oil drilling in the Lofoten, VesterÃ¥len and Senja, an issue of great debate in Norway. It will be their first election, and they will only run in Nordland.
  • People’s Power (Folkemakten), leader: Siv Gørbitz. The party was founded in 2012, and advocates direct democracy. It will only run in Hordaland.
  • Society Party (Samfunnspartiet), leader: Øystein Meier Johannessen. An anarchist party. It received below 0.1% of the votes in the 2009 election. It will only run in 4 counties.
  • Hospital to Alta (Sykehus til Alta). A single issue party advocating the building of a new and modern hospital in Alta. It will be their first election, and they will only run in Finnmark.

Election system in Norway

Norway elects its legislature on a national level. The parliament, the Storting (or Stortinget by Norwegian grammar), has 169 members elected for a four year term (during which it may not be dissolved) by the proportional representation in multi-seat constituencies.

Norway has a multi-party system, with numerous parties in which no one party often has a chance of gaining power alone, and parties must work with each other to form coalition governments and/or minority cabinets.

In Norway, elections are held every second year, alternating between elections for the Parliament and local elections, both of which are held every four years.

Suffrage is universal from the year a person turns 18 years old, even if the person turns 18 later in the year the election is held. Only Norwegian citizens can vote in the Parliamentary elections, but foreigners who have lived in Norway for three years continuously can vote in the local elections. Women’s suffrage was adopted in 1913.

The King of Norway is not considered a “citizen” and cannot vote. The queen and crown prince are eligible to vote but traditionally do not do so.

The last elections were the 2011 local elections, on 12 September.

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