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Norway's conservative parties yet to agree on government partnership

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Norway's conservative parties yet to agree on government partnership
Party leaders (from left) Siv Jensen, Erna Solberg, Trine Skei Grande and Knut Aril Hareide at the Prime Minister's residence. Photo: Lise Åserud / NTB scanpix
14:54 CEST+02:00
The leaders of Norway's four conservative parties, who must work together to ensure a parliamentary majority during Erna Solberg's second term as PM, were unable to come to agreement after a meeting on Thursday.

The two-hour meeting, which took place at the Prime Minister's residence, did not bring any definite solution to the problem – particularly that of the role to be played by the Christian Democrats, who have stated they will not govern with the populist Progress Party, the furthest right of the four.

As well as Solberg, Progress leader Siv Jensen, the Liberals' Trine Skei Grande and Knut Arild Hareide of the Christian Democrats (KrF) were present at the meeting.

“We have had good political discussions, and we agreed to meet again next week. That means that we have not reached any final decisions,” Hareide told NRK.

The KrF leader is scheduled to meet with the national leadership of his party on Friday.

“I would like to bring the party leadership into this discussion, so it is natural for me to have a meeting with them. The signals I received from the meeting tonight will be taken into that [party leadership] meeting,” he told NRK on Thursday.

Hareide has stated on several occasions that he neither wishes to go into a coalition government nor provide parliamentary support for a government that includes the Progress Party – an issue that was raised during Thursday's meeting.

READ ALSO: Bittersweet election victory for Norway PM Solberg

“It is natural for this type of question to be raised. But regardless of what happens, there is reason for us to have a political discussion,” Hareide said.

The parties will now meet again next week, with leading members as well as party heads present, writes NRK.

Prior to the meeting, Liberal leader Grande told the broadcaster that she had not yet given up hope of establishing a government with all four parties.

She repeated that sentiment following the meeting.

“I have not given up hope yet. We are not in any kind of rush to reach our goal, so we will sit down and continue discussions,” Grande said.

Jensen called the prospect of a government without KrF “unrealistic”, but added that she believed a support party-system in which not all parties were involved in the coalition was also a viable option.

“We are open to sitting down with the Liberals and KrF and finding a solution with them,” Jensen said.

Although the four parties are still divided on the form the government will take, they all continue to back Solberg as prime minister.

“We have spoken about where the various parties stand and the challenges facing Norway,” the PM told NRK following the meeting.

“We have time on our side. The current government will stay in place until we have a new government or a new type of partnership. We must collaborate on a new budget in parliament and will find good solutions,” she said.

READ ALSO: Five things to know about Norway's election outcome

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