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POLITICS

Everything you need to know about Norway’s nine political parties before the election

Struggling to tell the difference between the SPs and SVs and your FRPs from your KrFs? Here's the lowdown on Norway's nine main political parties ahead of the election in September.

Everything you need to know about Norway's nine political parties before the election
Norway's parliament Stortinget. Photo by Fred Montwell/ Flickr

Labour Party (AP – Arbeiderpartiet

Founded in 1887, this is the party expected to benefit most from this year’s election and is traditionally one of the biggest parties in Norway. 

The Labour Party is on the left of the political spectrum but is the closest to the centre out of Norway’s left-leaning parties. 

In their own words: “The Norwegian Labour Party is a social-democratic party committed to liberty, democracy and social justice. It is a reformist party that believes in partnership and cooperation on national as well as international level.” 

Key players: Their leader Jonas Gahr Støre is the man widely tipped by polls and commentators to be Norway’s next PM. Many will have a keen eye on the deals and partnerships he will need to broker to form a coalition. In addition to this, it’s worth keeping an eye on deputy leaders, Hadia Tajik and Bjørnar Skjæran, as well as party secretary Kjersti Stenseberg. 

You can take a look at profiles on the Labour party candidates where you live here

Labour leader and potentially Norway’s next PM, Jonas Gahr Støre. Photo by Bernt Sønvisen/Arbeiderpartiet/Flickr.

Conservative Party (H – Høyre) 

The party of current Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg has been in power since 2013. While Solberg is still popular with voters, it is expected that the right of centre party will no longer be in government after the election unless the left parties underperform and right parties overperform. 

In their own words: “The Conservative Party will pursue a conservative, progressive policy based on Christian cultural values, constitutional government and democracy to promote personal freedom and social responsibility, co-determination and ownership rights, and a binding commitment to national and international cooperation.” 

Key players: Current PM Erna Solberg is facing an uphill battle to remain PM. Health Minister Bent Høie will be hoping he will have done a good enough job handling the pandemic to remain health secretary, if the Conservatives are reelected to government. Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide, and Justice Minister Monical Mæland, who has been responsible for Norway’s Covid entry rules, will also be hoping to remain in cabinet if the Conservatives pip Labour and the Centre Party in the polls.

Erna Solberg has been PM since 2013. Photo by Norsk Olje og Gass/Flickr

You can take a look at the current Conservative Party politicians currently in cabinet and the candidates representing your area here.

READ MORE: What Erna Solberg’s seven election promises mean for foreign residents in Norway

Progress Party (FRP – Fremskrittspartiet)

The party that’s the furthest to the right of all of Norway’s mainstream political parties, the populist party gained momentum throughout the 2000s and in 2013 formed part of a Norwegian government for the first time. 

The Progress Party left the government in 2020 in protest over the return of Isis brides to Norway but is still the third biggest party in the Norwegian parliament with 26 representatives. 

In their own words: “The Progress Party is a liberal people’s party. We work for a stricter immigration policy, safe care for the elderly, good hospitals, lower taxes and fees and better roads. A simpler everyday life for most people.”

Key players: Leader Sylvi Listhaug is relatively new to the role of leader of the Progress Party, having only taken over from Siv Jensen in May. 

Listhaug has been FRP leader since May 2021. Photo by Pål Hivand / Sametinget/ Flickr

She has had several ministerial roles already and has been dubbed a rising star of the Progress Party and right-wing politics in Norway. Her relationship with Erna Solberg and how they work together should a right-wing coalition be on the cards will be crucial to both parties success. Deputies Ketil Solvi-Olsen and Terje Søviknes are also worth keeping tabs on.

You can take a look at FRP’s policies and politicians here

Centre Party (SP – Senterpartiet) 

The most ideologically flexible of Norway’s political parties, the Centre Party has been a part of both left and right-leaning governments. 

SP’s roots are that of a party for farmers. They primarily campaign in the interest of protectionism and decentralization. They are popular in rural areas and focus their policy on people they say have been left behind by an Oslo-centric approach to policy in Norway. 

In their own words: “The Centre Party aims to create the conditions for a harmonious development of society. A living democracy, built on Christian and national grounds, is a prerequisite for the people’s well-being and progress. The individual and human dignity must be central to society and show trust in the community.” 

Key players: Leader Trygve Slagsvold Vedum has been the party’s leader since 2014 and could be considered a parliamentary veteran at this point, having been an MP since 2005 and having already held the position of Minister Of Agriculture previously. He also has an outside chance of being prime minister as it isn’t automatically guaranteed that Støre would take charge. Ola Borten Moe and Marit Arnstad are among the vital SP personnel going into the election. 

Vedum is also in the running for PM. Photo by Ragne B. Lysaker, Senterpartiet/ Flickr

You can read more about the Centre Party’s parliamentary candidates here

READ MORE: What you need to know about Norway’s upcoming election

Socialist Left Party (SV – Socialist Ventreparti

Originally made up of a coalition of smaller socialist parties and independent candidates, SV is now a mainstream democratic socialist party that’s to the left of Labour but not as far left as the Red Party. 

Key issues for the Socialist Left Party are a robust public sector, a strong welfare state and environmental policy. However, they haven’t been involved in government since 2013. 

In their own words: “The differences between the financially privileged and the rest of the population are increasing. Those who are poor or sick are continuously experiencing cuts in welfare benefits, and aid schemes are being eroded. Meanwhile, right-wing politicians are continuously cutting taxes for the rich. If these unfair differences are allowed to continue, our society of tomorrow will be a less inclusive place.”

SV will be hoping to form part of a potential red-green coalition. Photo by: Åsmund Holien Mo, Socialist Ventreparti/Flickr

Key players: Audun Lysbakken is the leader of the Socialist Left Party, so he will be spearheading their campaign to win votes. Torgeir Knag Fylkesnes is also one to have an eye on as he is the deputy leader and is already a member of parliament for Troms.

If you want to learn more about the Socialist Left Party, you can do so here.

Liberal (V – Venstre)

Translated as left, the Liberals are actually a centrist party. The party is probably the most pro-immigration and pro-EU out of Norway’s main parties. However, despite the pro-EU stance, the party doesn’t advocate full membership of the EU, instead greater European cooperation. 

The party has either been officially in government or not in government but supportive of Solberg’s centre-right coalition since 2013. 

In their own words: “The Liberal Party wants to create a green future with freedom and opportunities for all. That is why we are cutting emissions, investing in schools and creating new jobs.”

Key players: Guri Melby, minister of education, has been party leader since 2020 and is flanked by deputies Abid Raja, who serves as culture minister and Sveinung Rotevatn. 

Guri Melby has served as education secretary under the current government. Photo: Oda Scheel, Venstre/ Flickr.

You can take a look at the Liberal candidates here

Christian Democratic Party (KrF – Kristelig Folkeparti

The Christian Democrat Party in Norway focus on a mix of socially conservative values and ideals and left of centre economic policy. 

Unsurprisingly, Christian values remain at the heart of the party’s focus. The party has formally and informally supported PM Solberg’s government on and off since 2013. 

In their own words: “KrF believes that everyone has a responsibility to care about other people, no matter who they are, what they can do or where they live.” 

Key players: Leader Kjell Ingolf Ropstad has been an MP since 2009 and party leader since 2019. He currently serves as the families minister. Other noteworthy members are Agriculture Minister Olaug Vervik Bollestad, Aid Minister Dag-Inge Ulstein, and Knut Arild Hareide. 

Kjell Ingolf Ropstad has been KrF leader since 2019. Photo by Natur og Ungdom/ Flickr

You can take a look at the Christian Democratic Party’s politicians here.

Green Party (MDGMiljøpartiet De Grønne)

The Green Party are primarily focused on green policies and environmental issues. While they say that a left or right ideology doesn’t tie them down, generally, their policies place them on the left of Norwegian politics. The party’s main aim for this election will be getting above the four percent threshold.

In their own words: “The climate and nature crisis is the greatest injustice of our time. Short-term populism, growing differences and environmental destruction threaten the freedom and security many of us have taken for granted”.

Key players: Une Bastholm leads the Greens and is the party’s only member of parliament. Before that, she was an entrepreneur and environmental activist. 

Une Bastholm will be hoping the Greens are able to meet the levelling seats threshold. Photo by: Miljøpartiet De Grønne/Flickr

You can read more about the Green Party candidates and policies here

Red Party (R – Rødt

The Red Party is furthest to the left out of any of Norway’s parties. The Red Party advocates replacing capitalism with socialism. They have only had one candidate enter parliament, and that was in the 2017 general election. Like the Green Party, the Red Party will be hoping to reach the levelling seats threshold this time around.

In their own words: “The Red Party aims to fight inequality in Norway. The growth of social disparities in the country means the top few percent get richer, while the purchasing power of ordinary people is progressively weakened.” 

Key players: Party leader Bjørnar Moxnes and his deputies Marie Sneve Martinussen and Silje Josten Kjosbakken are the key members of the party. 

The Red Party will be hoping to improve upon having just one representative in parliament. Photo: Ihne Pedersen, Rødt/ Flickr

You can take a look at the Red Party’s candidates here.

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ENERGY

Air-con, ties and lights: How Europe plans to save energy and get through winter without blackouts

In the face of possible energy shortages due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, countries around Europe are taking action to cut their energy use and ensure that the lights remain on this winter. Here's a look at some of the rules and recommendations that governments are introducing.

Air-con, ties and lights: How Europe plans to save energy and get through winter without blackouts

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and ensuing sanctions has seen energy prices soar, while the Russian leader is also threatening to cut off gas supplies to the west in retaliation for the sanctions.

All this means that countries around Europe face a difficult winter and the prospect of energy shortages – so many are already taking action to stockpile gas and cut energy usage.

Here’s a roundup of what actions are being taken. 

Germany

Heavily dependant on Russian gas, Germany is already feeling the effects of the energy squeeze, with many households and businesses turning down the thermostat or dimming the lights as gas storage facilities are being filled at a slower pace.

RulesEarly in July, Germany’s lower house of parliament or Bundestag passed a plan to turn off the hot water in its offices and keep the air temperature no higher than 20C in the winter. This limit is merely recommended for households.

However homeowners will not be allowed to heat private pools with gas “this winter”, according to government plans, while a regulation requiring minimum temperatures in rented homes is expected to be suspended “so that tenants who want to save energy and turn down the heating are allowed to do so”.

As well as national rules, many German cities have also adopted their own energy-savings plans.

The Bavarian city of Augsburg, for example, has turned off its fountains, dimmed the facades of public buildings at night and is debating switching off some under-used traffic lights – and a housing cooperative in Dresden made national headlines when it announced it would limit hot water to certain times of day.

With certain exceptions, public buildings in Berlin will not have heating from April to the end of September each year, with room temperatures limited to a maximum of 20C for the rest of the year. In areas such as warehouses, technical rooms, corridors, the maximum will range from 10 to 15C.

Private enterprise has been getting in on the act too – Vonovia, Germany’s largest property group, plans to limit the temperature in its 350,000 homes to a maximum of 17C at night.

The head of consumer chemicals group Henkel has said that work-from-home practices may be reintroduced, while chemicals giant BASF has raised the possibility of putting its employees on furlough.

Recommendations – Economy Minister Robert Habeck has made headlines for extolling the virtues of shorter, colder showers.

France

France has an ambitious plan to cut its energy usage by 10 percent within two years and a government plan for sobriété énergétique (energy sobriety) is expected by September.

In the meantime, some rules have already been put in place while there are also some official recommendations. The general principle is that changes will be obligatory for government buildings and businesses, but voluntary for private households. 

Rules – In 2013, a law obliging businesses to switch off outside lights by 1am came into force. That deadline may be brought forward and towns and villages may have to switch off streetlights earlier – some areas have already taken this decision.

Shops that have air conditioning may not leave their doors open, so that less energy is lost.

Limits have been suggested for heating and air conditioning – keep heating to a maximum of 19C and air con to a minimum of 26C at the height of summer. The Prime Minister says she ‘expects’ government buildings to show an example and adhere to these, but they are voluntary for households.

Meanwhile, the heads of large supermarket chains in France have made a voluntary agreement for all stores to employ energy-saving techniques, such as turning off electric signs at closing times, reducing light usage, and managing store temperatures, from October 15th this year. They will also cut lighting by half before opening time, and by 30 percent during “critical consumption periods”.

Additionally, they will “cut off air renewal at night” and “lower the temperature in outlets to 17C this autumn and winter, if requested by a regulatory authority”.

Recommendations – The government has urged individuals to adopt energy-saving practices – by switching off wifi routers when on holiday, turning off lights, unplugging electric appliances when not in use, and lowering the air-con.

France’s energy transition minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher has urged people to keep heating to a maximum of 19C and air con to a minimum of 26C at the height of summer.

Spain

Spain has introduced perhaps the most wide-ranging set of rules in its new energy-saving bill, which comes into force on August 10th.

Public buildings as well as shops, restaurants, cafés, supermarkets, transport hubs and cultural spaces must:

  • Set heating and cooling temperatures to limits of 19C and 27C respectively;
  • Install doors that automatically close by September 30th to prevent energy waste, as can happen with regular doors that are left open;
  • Lights in shop windows must be turned off by 10pm;
  • Posters must be put up to explain the energy saving measures in every building or establishment, and thermometers must be displayed to show the temperature and humidity of the room.

READ ALSO: Is it realistic for Spain to set the air con limit at 27C during summer?

Recommendations – the above rules do not apply to private homes, but it is recommended to follow the heating and cooling limits.

Meanwhile, working from home is recommended for large companies and public administration buildings to help “save on the displacement and thermal consumption of buildings”, Spain’s Minister for Ecological Transition Teresa Ribera said.

And have you thought about your outfit? Here’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez explaining why he’s ditching his tie to stay a little bit cooler.

Italy

Back in April the Italian government approved limits on the use of air conditioning in public offices and schools from May 1st, to save energy and wean itself off reliance on Russian gas imports.

At the time Ministers said that Italy would be able to end its reliance on Russian gas within 18 months, after previously giving a timeframe of at least two years.

Rules – In public buildings, energy use will be measured in individual rooms of each building – the temperature must not exceed 19C in winter and cannot be any lower than 27C in summer, with a margin of tolerance of two degrees – meaning the lowest allowed temperature is actually 25C.

Fines for non-compliance with the rules are said to range from €500 to €3,000. The measure does not currently apply to clinics, hospitals and nursing homes.

Italy has long had rules in place limiting the usage of heating in homes and public buildings during winter. Northern and mountainous areas are allowed to switch on the heat in October, while some parts of the south can’t turn up the dial until December.

Even then, there are limits on how long you’re allowed to keep the central heating on each day, ranging from six hours in the warmest parts of the country to 14 hours in chillier regions.

And there are rules on maximum temperatures – private homes, offices and schools should not be heated to more than 20C, with a 2C tolerance. Meanwhile factories and workshops should generally be kept at 18C.

Austria

The Austrian government has said it will work on measures to encourage energy saving among households and businesses while putting a cap on electricity prices.

The aim is to “support the Austrian population to ensure unaffordable energy supply for a certain basic need”, according to a government statement. 

The government didn’t give details on the price cap but said that conditions would be developed by the end of August.

Sweden

Sweden has announced no new measures in response to the energy crisis, but already has certain limits in place. 

Many Swedish apartment buildings and housing cooperatives have a strict maximum heating limit of 21C indoors and in some buildings radiators have a limiter on them so they cannot be turned too high.

In Denmark, too, the government has introduced no specific new measures.

Switzerland

In common with other countries, Switzerland is at risk of a gas shortage this winter and the government has warned that restrictions on consumption during the coldest months cannot be excluded.

Nearly half of its annual supply is of Russian origin. “We are not an island, so the war in Ukraine and the global energy crisis also affect Switzerland,” Energy Minister Simonetta Sommaruga said at the end of June. “In this context, there is no certainty about what awaits us.”

The possibility that Swiss households will have to turn down the thermostat this winter is very real. 

In the event of an actual shortage, “consumption restrictions may be ordered, for example restrictions on the heating of unoccupied buildings. The switching to biofuel could be imposed by ordinance”, Economy Minister Guy Parmelin has said.

If shortages persist, a quota system would be implemented – with households and essential services, such as hospitals, among the last to be affected.

But Parmelin insisted, “the role of the State is to guarantee a good supply of gas and electricity to the country. We want at all costs to avoid a disruption in supply, which would have a strong impact on businesses and  would then lead to an economic crisis”.

UK

Less reliant on Russian gas because of its own gas reserves, the UK is currently less worried about supply than price – soaring utility bills may force many households into poverty this winter, campaigners have warned.

Households in the UK will start receiving a discount worth a total £400 (€478) off their energy bills from October, the British government has said, with the support package rises to £1,200 (€1,430) for the poorest households.

A recent report by National Grid said there was little chance of the lights going out in the UK this winter – though experts have warned that a severe cold spell could prompt action, such as shutdowns of non-critical factory operations, to ensure homes can be heated.

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