Labour to lead new Norwegian government

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Jonas Gahr Støre

As the polls predicted, Labour has returned to power in Norway to lead a new left-leaning coalition which will include the Centre (Sp) Party and the Socialist Left (SV) party.

Up to last night, with a few results still to be declared, they controlled 86 of the 169 seats in the Storting, Norway’s parliament. The turnout was 75.6%.

Conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg has conceded defeat and congratulated the Labour leader Jonas Gahr Støre, who will run the country for the next four years.

However, both Labour and Conservatives lost support compared with the last election, with a number of minor parties at each end of the political spectrum increasing their presence in the Storting.

The Red and Greens did well as did the more right wing Progress (Frp) Party.

But the better news for the aquaculture sector is that the alliance will be able to govern without the support of the Greens and the Red Party, who were both openly hostile towards fish farming companies during the campaign, demanding high taxes and tougher environmental controls.

However, the sector is still likely to expect some attention from the new government, probably in the form of new taxes.

Labour received 26.4% of the vote, its worst performance for almost 100 years while the Centre party’s support jumped by 3.3% since the 2017 election to 13.6%.

The Centre Party set alarm bells ringing among seafood leaders earlier in the campaign when it suggested that Norway should embark on its own form of Brexit by leaving the European Economic Area (EEA).

But it will receive no support in parliament from either Labour or the Conservatives for such a move.