Three potential clashes between Norway’s Progress Party and government

Three potential clashes between Norway’s Progress Party and government
File photo: AFP
After announcing its decision to quit Norway’s coalition government on Monday, the populist Progress Party has already named three areas on which it will challenge Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s administration.

Solberg is now at the head of a minority government after its erstwhile partner said it was leaving the right-wing coalition government over the repatriation of a suspected Islamic State member and her two children last week.

“We don't compromise with people who have voluntarily joined terror organisations. That was the last straw,” party leader Siv Jensen told reporters in Oslo.

Without the Progress Party, the coalition, headed by Solberg, loses its majority in parliament, but she will still remain in charge.

READ ALSO: What next for Norway's government after break-up of coalition?

As she announced her party's exit, Jensen said it was “natural” that Solberg would remain prime minister, suggesting that the groups will continue to work together to pass legislation.

But three areas have already been highlighted as possible battlegrounds on which Jensen’s party, now free of the restraints of government, could pressure the government.

Speaking on NRK’s Politisk kvarter programme on Tuesday morning, Progress Party deputy leader Sylvi Listhaug said that wind power; power cables connecting Norway with grids abroad; and the area considered to be part of the Barents Sea ice were three areas on which her party disagrees with the government.

Listhaug herself has previously claimed that wind power “pollutes Norway’s nature”. She said that her party is in support of giving local authorities the right to veto wind farm construction.

“We have seen fury in many places locally, because local populations and local politicians are being overruled by national authorities. We want to stop that,” she said.

READ ALSO: Norway court gives wind power opponent prison sentence for harassment

The Progress Party is also set to resist the government’s plan to construct the North Connect power cable from Hardanger to the United Kingdom.

The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate has said the cable will be profitable for Norway overall but will result in slightly higher electricity costs.

“We are not interested in completing the North Connect cable, which is being built to supply electricity abroad and will give most people higher electricity prices,” Listhaug told NRK.

Prior to Monday’s split, the government was not in agreement over how to define the limits of the Barents Sea ice. Some support placing the ice border further north, enabling more oil exploration, while others want it placed to the south, protecting the region’s environment.

“I don’t see it being relevant for us to move the ice border one metre to the south. It should rather be moved north,” Listhaug said.

READ ALSO: Norway's PM promises to keep looking for oil 'as long as it is profitable'

 


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