As it happened: 'We did it' - Norway's left-wing opposition triumphs in general election

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
As it happened: 'We did it' - Norway's left-wing opposition triumphs in general election
Will Erna Solberg be able to hold off Jonas Gahr Støre and remain Norway's PM? Photo by Kilian Munch/Norsk olje og gass on Flickr

Norway's left-wing opposition came out on top in the 2021 election with current PM Erna Solberg ousted from power, as votes were counted on Monday. Follow our live blog as the results of the 2021 election are revealed. (You'll need to refresh the page manually for the latest updates.)


Join our journalist Frazer Norwell (Twitter: @FrazerNorwell) for the results of Norway's 2021 election and all the reaction. Email questions and views to [email protected]

1:24AM: That's all from us

Thank you for joining us for tonight's live blog. While the election is over there's still plenty for Labour, the Socialist Left Party, and Centre Party to figure out before they form a government. We'll be sure to keep you up to date with all the key details and how they affect you. 

12:50am: Big names given the boot

Former Progress Party leader Siv Jensen and current Transport Secretary Knut Arild Hareide are among some of the more high profile faces who haven't been reelected into parliament tonight. 

12:45am: Political leaders take part in post-election debate 

Yes, you read that correctly. The leaders of Norway's political parties are taking part in a post-election debate at the Norwegian parliament. Post-election debates are a tradition in Norway.

12:40am: Støre thanks Solberg for her time as Prime Minister

Speaking at an event earlier tonight, Jonas Gahr Støre thanked Erna Solberg, who he will replace as Norwegian PM for her eight years of service. 

"I would like to send a special thank you to Erna Solberg. She has been a good and steady Prime Minister of Norway. She has led the country safely through several crises. She has taken the initiative internationally. She is a knowledgeable politician," he said to supporters at an election event. 

12:25am: Small party grabs a seat in northern Norway 

Patient Focus, an independent healthcare oriented party from Finnmark, has managed to win a seat in tonight's election. 

The party's main focus is to raise awareness of health and social care provisions in the very remote northern areas of Norway. 

11:50pm: Støre speaks: 'we did it' 

Støre spoke to jubilant Labour supporters at the party's election night event and said years of patience have paid off. 

"We have waited, we have hoped and worked so hard, and now we can finally say, we did it," Støre said at the event. 

Labour are on course to secure their pre-election dream majority government consisting of themselves and the Socialist Left Party and Centre Party. 

"Today folks, we are celebrating a change," he said of Labour's return to government after eight years in opposition. 

Støre will be Norway's 36th prime minister since 1873. 

11:40pm: Solberg speaks at election night event

Erna Solberg has thanked her supporters and said she is proud of the government's achievements as eight years of centre-right rule draws to a close.

"Dear, dear all. About eight years ago, I stood on this stage and thanked the voters for a new government" Solberg listed several of the party's major policy changes, such as further education of teachers, road development, and several changes in healthcare, in addition to the handling of the pandemic, as things she was proud of.

"If we now look at Norway in the final phase of the corona pandemic, employment is back where it was before the coronavirus," the outgoing PM said. "We have also encountered major challenges on our watch. The migrant crisis, the fall in oil prices, the coronavirus pandemic," she added.

Solberg also thanked the other parties she shared power with during her eight years as prime minister.

"We are satisfied, but we have not done this alone. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your cooperation with the Progress Party, the Liberal Party and the Christian Democrats," she said at the event.

The PM also congratulated her successor, Labour leader Jonas Gahr Støre. 

She ended by admitting that she thought the Conservatives would have needed a miracle to remain in power. 

11:35pm: How these results compare to the past for the Socialist Left party.

The Socialist left party, who will form part of the left-wing coalition has seen its vote share rise tonight but it's still a long way from the heady days of 2001.

11:20pm: Christian Democrats Leader throws in the towel too

Kjell Ingolf Ropstad has also conceded defeat in tonight's election and has said that the government will probably resign after the autumn budget. 

"I would like to congratulate Støre on the election result and wish him luck in that job. The Christian Democrats will return to being an opposition party in the Storting," Ropstad told supporters at an election event. 

11:10pm Solberg admits defeat, calls Støre to congratulate him 

Outgoing PM Erna Solberg has called her successor as Norwegian Prime Minister to congratulate him on tonight's election results, newspaper Aftenposten have reported. 

With just over 90 percent of all votes counted Norway's opposition parties are on course to secure 100 seats while the parties currently in government are on course to secure 68. 

11:00pm: Socialist Left Party promises tough negotiations

The Socialist Left Party has issued a warning to its coalition partners that they will be no pushovers when it comes to negotiations. 

They are set to form a majority government with Labour and the Centre Party. 

"Everything indicates that there's no way to secure power and a majority in the new Storting (parliament) that does not go through us, and we will use that power," Audun Lysbakken, Socialist Left Party leader, told supporters at the party's election night event. 

10:58pm: Updated look at the votes threshold

Currently, The Red Party and the Liberal Party are on course to pass the threshold and secure levelling seats. At the same time, the Christian Democratic Party and Greens will miss out on the extra seats awarded for nationwide support.

Even with more than 85 percent of all the votes in Norway counted, it could still go right down to the wire for the four parties vying to meet the threshold.

The Greens are currently 0.05 percent off, and the Christian Democrats are around 1.14 percet away from meeting the threshold.

The Red's are the furthest past the threshold with 4.73 percent of the popular vote, and the Liberal's are less comfortably past the threshold with 4.35 percent of all votes cast.

10:55pm - A 'cannon election result'?

10:50pm: 'These results look very very promising'

Here's a glimpse of the latest write up from AFP which we will have on the site shortly?.

Norway's left-wing opposition headed by Labour Party leader Jonas Gahr Store won Monday's general election after a campaign
dominated by questions about the future of the key oil industry in Western Europe's largest producer.

The five opposition parties were seen winning 98 of the 169 seats in parliament, enough to unseat the centre-right coalition headed by Conservative Erna Solberg, according to estimates based on advance ballots.

More than 42 percent of the electorate voted in advance.

The Labour Party and Store, who will in all likelihood become the next prime minister, could possibly even win an absolute majority in parliament with its preferred allies, the Centre Party and the Socialist Left.

That would eliminate the need to rely on the support of the two other opposition parties, the Greens and the communist Red Party and facilitate Store's coalition-building negotiations, which already promise to be long and thorny.

"These results look very very promising, of course they're still counting the final results but assuming that the prognosis is right, it looks like there is a very strong mandate for change," Labour's energy chief Espen Barth Eide told AFP.

The possibility of a three-party coalition is "exactly the outcome we were hoping for and that means we can start negotiating in the coming days."

10:27pm: Updated results... 

With more than three quarters of all votes in Norway now taken into consideration things are becoming a bit clearer. Currently, the Labour Party, Socialist Party and Centre Party are expected to hang on and secure a majority government. 

The three parties would secure a slim majority of one and a total of 87 seats according to the latest results. A minimum of 85 seats is required to win a majority in the 169-seat parliament.

10:20pm: Not a good night for the right

10:11pm - An interesting fact...

According to the Twittersphere's Gareth Baines: 'Norway’s Labour Party has finished 1st in every Norwegian election since 1927, and it set to continue. However, projection of 25.6% is the party's 2nd worst performance in this period..."

That fact is good Gareth, but it's unlikely to dampen celebrations among the left in Norway tonight.

10:00pm: Labour's rich man tackling Norway's inequalities 

Jonas Gahr Støre led a campaign focused on "ordinary people", but the man set to become Norway's new prime minister is a multimillionaire who at first glance doesn't have much in common with the average Norwegian.

After first estimates showed the leftwing opposition winning Monday's legislative elections, the dapper 61-year-old is expected to head a government whose parliamentary majority will be determined by negotiations with various parties in the days and weeks ahead. Støre campaigned against social inequalities in wealthy Norway, one of the most egalitarian countries in the OECD but which saw the number of billionaires more than double under the outgoing centre-right government.

You can read AFP's full profile of the likely next prime minister here.

9:50pm: Here's the latest from Reuters

A minimum of 85 seats is required to win a majority in the 169-seat parliament.

If the projections prove correct, Støre could form a majority of Labour, the Centre Party and the Socialist Left, on track for a combined 87 seats, and avoid having to work with the Marxist Red Party or the anti-oil Greens.

Getting the rural-based Centre Party and the mostly urban Socialists to govern together could be hard enough however, as the two take different views on a range of issues from oil to taxes.

Ruling in a minority could also be an option for Labour. Støre says his government would focus on cutting CO2 emissions in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement, but has rejected any ultimatum over energy policy.

If he wins, Støre has pledged to address inequality by cutting taxes for low- and middle-income families and hiking rates for the rich.

9:45pm: Four parties are fighting against the votes threshold

Four parties are fighting against Norway's four percent votes threshold.

Currently, Red Party, Green Party, Christian Democrats and Liberal Party are battling it out to meet the threshold.

The Red Party and Green Party stand to gain the most from meeting the threshold, and Christian Democratic Party and Liberal party both stand to lose the most should they fail to meet the magic four percent mark.

9:40pm: Some reaction from the Twittersphere

And more...

9:30pm: Solberg to make history despite election loss

This may cushion the blow for Erna Solberg; The outgoing PM is set to make history in Norway as the first MP to be elected to parliament for a ninth time in over 100 years. 

The Bergen native has been an MP since 1989. 

9:25pm: Which parties have won the sperregrense jackpot? 

According to the initial projections, the Red Party are the clear winners of Norway's 'sperrgrense jackpot'. 

Sperregrense is a votes threshold that awards additional seats to parties that manage to get four percent of the vote nationwide.

By meeting the threshold the Red Party is projected to gain seven seats compared to the last election. 

The news that they'd meet the threshold sparked festivities for supporters of the Red Party.

You can read more about how the votes threshold works here


9:20pm: How do the projected results compare to last time round? 

This tweet below compares the projected seats based on the early results from tonight to the 2017 election.

9:15pm: Majority of 102 seats?

Labour and four other centre-left parties could swing to a combined majority of 102 seats in the 169-seat assembly, up from 81 currently, the Directorate of Elections projected based on a partial vote count, Reuters reported.

9:00pm: BREAKING - Exit polls project Labour led government 

The moment we've all been waiting for. The Norwegian Electoral Directorate's exit poll based on early votes is here, projecting Labour's dream scenario, a majority government with the Centre Party and Socialist Left Party.

The early results are signalling the end of eight years of centre-right government led by Erna Solberg.

8:54pm: Last call for snacks and beverages before the exit polls 

Brace yourselves; it's about to get serious. This would probably be the best time to grab some snacks and other refreshments before the Norwegian Electoral Directorate's projection comes in. You won't want to miss it!

8:52pm: What do Norwegian voters think?

More than 1.6 million Norwegians, or 42.3 percent of the electorate, made use of early voting opportunities.

For voter Fredrik Wessel, a 62-year-old lawyer at an insurance company, the main issue in the election was to "maintain good economic policy".

"And then of course I'm concerned about the climate, that we consider everything we can to improve our climate," he told AFP as he left an Oslo polling station.

Meanwhile, a 76-year-old pensioner said her "main issue is the big difference between rich and poor which is growing bigger and bigger in Norway, even if it is better than many countries in Europe and the world."

8:50pm: Time to read up on your Norwegian political jargon

Every language comes with its own political jargon, Norwegian is no different. If you want to impress your Norwegian friends and colleagues by hitting them with a bit of the local political lingo, be sure to check out our guide. 

Do you have a favourite bit of jargon? Let us know in the comments, and we will try and include it. 

READ MORE: The essential Norwegian words you need to know to understand today's election

8:45pm: So what will happen in the election tonight?

In the run up to the election there's been plenty of speculation about what the results will be and who will form the next Norwegian government.
In one of our latest analysis pieces we eyed the more recent polls and took a look at the likely outcome tonight.

In short Jonas Gahr Støre was on course to become Norway’s next PM, according to polls. However, Labour’s dreams of securing a majority coalition with the Centre Party and Socialist Left Party appears to be in the balance. Instead, they may potentially be dependent on either the Red Party or Green Party to get into government.

For Erna Solberg and the Conservatives, it’s bad news. The party appears to be losing voters and potential seats to both the Centre Party and the Liberals. In addition, potential coalition partners, the Christian Democrats and Progress Party, have seen a significant dip in support since the last election. In contrast, the parties on the left have gained support. 

You can read the full article below.


8:25pm: All eyes on exit polls and result projection 

At 9pm, Norway's exit polls based on early voting figures will be published. While no projection is ever perfect, it usually offers a fairly accurate picture of how events will unfold.
The projection will be provided by the Norwegian Electoral Directorate. Once it's published, it will be updated throughout the night. The forecast will be based on the more than 1.6 million votes cast ahead of election night, a record for Norway.

8pm: Norway's election results live!

Hi all, thanks for joining tonights live blog.

We are expecting partial results to be announced at around 9pm and then the full results to be announced later in the night so stick with us and we'll bring you everything you need to know. One important point though, remember to refresh this page automatically for updates and email me any questions or views you have to [email protected].

By the way if you are just catching up on our election coverage now, here's a quick but very useful who's who in Norway's 2021 election race.


7:50pm: What did the final polls say?

According to the latest opinion polls, a clear majority is emerging to unseat Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s centre-right government, which has ruled the Nordic country for the last eight years.

On Monday the leader of Norway’s Labour Party Jonas Gahr Store, a 61-year-old millionaire who has campaigned against social inequality, seemed well placed to succeed her, but the exact shape of the coalition needed to pave his way to office is still unclear.

His party’s preferred allies are the agrarian Centre Party and the Socialist Left Party, but if they are unable to reach a majority on their own they might depend on the support of the Green Party and or the communist Red Party, potentially complicating negotiations.

“I have a good feeling,” Store said as he cast his ballot at a school in Oslo on Sunday, with voting opening a day earlier in the major cities.

You can read our full election preview article HERE.

7:45pm: Some useful pre-results reading.

In the run up to the election we've been writing about what the main parties stand for when it comes to issues that interest and impact foreign residents in Norway. These links give you everything you need.



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