Battle for Next Major: 48 Municipalities in Norway Still Haven’t Chosen a Mayor

Three weeks after the election, 1 in 7 municipalities has yet to select a mayor. In Karmøy, the two largest parties in the municipality could risk being left without a leader, writes NRK.

Rune Midtun, the mayoral candidate for Karmøy FrP, states, “I won’t be sad if I don’t become mayor, but I will be sad on behalf of the voters if there isn’t a clear change in politics.”

Karmøy is one of the municipalities where uncertainty remains about who will become the mayor.

According to an overview by NRK, there are 48 municipalities that have not reached a decision, accounting for 1 in 7 municipalities nationwide. Other municipalities in this situation include Oslo, Kragerø, Senja, and Karasjok.

The delay in decision-making is due to multiple parties engaging in negotiations. For example, FrP in Karmøy has held discussions with local Karmøylista, Høyre, INP, MDG, and Rødt. However, they haven’t spoken with Høyre in a while. Meanwhile, Høyre has formed a platform with KrF, Venstre, and Senterpartiet, which have also held talks with Arbeiderpartiet.

The presence of multiple parties is identified as the reason for the delay in choosing the municipality’s leadership for the next four years.

Valgforsker (election researcher) Svein Erik Tuastad explains, “It’s not surprising that they are struggling to reach a decision in Karmøy. There are so many major parties.” He adds that this is also the case in several other municipalities that have yet to choose a mayor.

Sitting mayor Jarle Nilsen agrees with the election researcher. Nilsen has held the mayoral position in Karmøy for eight years, but his party received only 15.2% of the votes in this year’s election, a significant decline from the previous election.

One of the challenges, Nilsen notes, is that the largest party in the municipality has less than 20% of the votes. In Karmøy, it requires at least four parties to form a majority coalition.

The current mayor, Jarle Nilsen (Ap), has had discussions with Høyre, KrF, Senterpartiet, and Venstre. However, the party has had meeting-free days recently.

When asked if he still envisions becoming mayor in Karmøy for another term, Nilsen responds, “Yes, that’s one of the scenarios. But there are more.” He emphasizes the importance of the parties governing the municipality having a strong basis for cooperation.

“Everything is still open,” Nilsen concludes.

Karmøy is the only municipality in Rogaland that has not chosen a mayor following the September 11th election.

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