Norwegians punished major parties and right wing coalition members in local elections on Monday.
Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s ruling Conservatives (Høyre), her right-wing populist ally Progress Party (FrP) had one of their worst performances. The top opposition Labour Party also fell to a record low level.
On the other hand, smaller parties, including communist (Rødt), the Greens (MDG) and the rural Centre Party (Sp), and the new protest movement pro-motorist FNB received record high votes.
The devestating result for the government parties seems to create the political division in the country and make it more difficult to govern even if there are still two years to the general elections.
Toll Roads, Increasing Inequality, Environment and Forced Merger
The biggest topic of this local election was the toll roads. The four-party Cabinet has lost a lot of votes over disagreement on whether to pay for roads and public transport with more tolls on drivers. Also the government’s insistence on forced merger of the municipalities created discontent among the voters who have ended up with less access to public services.
Moreover the government’s criticized welfare policies increasing inequality in the country, insufficient and controversial environmental actions are the factors that pushed especially young voters.
FrP’s image as a right wing populist party has also dragged all the coalition members down by losing hundreds of thousand of immigrant voters.
Solberg’s Conservatives and her government partners, the Liberals, the Christian Democrats and FrP in total won only 34% of the vote combined, losing 9 percentage points from four years ago.
The surprising winners of the elections, on the other hand, was the Centre Party, doubling its votes, and the Communists, the Greens and the FNB with their contrasting environment, social and transport policies.