Norway’s center-left opposition looked set to win a majority of seats in the country’s parliamentary election on Monday, with conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg conceding defeat and the leader of the largest opposition party declaring victory after preliminary results were announced. The leftward shift in Norway’s politics would also put Norway more on par politically with Scandinavian neighbors Denmark, Sweden and Finland.
Norway is an affluent, oil-rich country that is not an EU member state. It has the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, thanks in no small part to the financial windfalls brought about by the country’s significant fossil fuels sector since the 1960s. GDP from the sector is at 14% and 40% of all exports are oil and gas. Petroleum accounts for 160,000 jobs.
The issues of climate change and economic inequality dominated campaigning, with the outcome set to influence oil activities in Western Europe’s largest producer. In August, when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report dropped declaring a “code red for humanity,” the election campaign pivoted to matters of climate change, favoring parties that had put the issue at the forefront of their agenda. Stoere’s Labor Party wants a gradual, rather than immediate, reduction in the Norwegian economy’s reliance on oil and gas sector, unlike parties further to the left that may form part of a ruling coalition.
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