What happens next in Norway as coalition talks to form next government begin

Very early official talks over Norway's next government have taken place between Labour, the Centre Party and the Socialist Left Party, but what will happen next? 

What happens next in Norway as coalition talks to form next government begin
Labour leader and Jonas Gahr Støre is leading the talks. Photo by Arbeiderpartiet on Flickr.

More than a week and a half after the polls closed and all the votes were counted, it still isn’t exactly clear when Norway will have its next government. 

This is because Norway’s victorious opposition parties are still in the process of thrashing out all the details of the country’s next coalition government and trying to reconcile their differences on key policy issues such as tax, oil, the environment, and immigration. You can take a look at some of the key points of contention between the parties here.

Negotiations began proper on Thursday after a week of informal talks, dinners and meetings following the election. 

Leaders have remained tight-lipped on the demands they will make in talks but have maintained they are open to working things out with one another, even the Centre Party, who in the lead up to the election said they wouldn’t work with the Socialist Left Party.

However, that position eased towards the back end of last week after the party appeared to be increasingly split on whether they should sit at the negotiating table with the Socialist Left Party. 

The very early talks are taking place at the Hurdalsjøen hotel, Hurdel, north of Oslo. The parties have remained very hush hush around how the talks were ticking along. Although, the press are speculating that the early discussions are very general and focused on finding consensus around several vital differences. 

READ MORE: What changes could Norway’s new government make to taxes?

How smoothly the talks’ progress will dictate what happens next and how long it will be until a new government is formed. 

If the parties can all come to an agreement and resolve any issues or differences in a relatively orderly manner, then the process of sorting the finer details such as forming a cabinet and deciding who gets what post will be next. 

Suppose the talks don’t go smoothly, then negotiations could drag on for weeks. Alternatively, the parties could go back to the drawing board if it’s decided that their differences are too significant to resolve.

This would mean Labour trying to gather support from the Green Party or Red Party or ruling in a minority government but with the support of other parties as Solberg’s outgoing government has done on and off since 2013. 

Once all of the details have been ironed out and smoothed over, and it’s been decided who will be in the cabinet, then, the current prime minister, Erna Solberg, will submit their formal resignation and advise the King on who the next prime minister will be. In this case, it will be Jonas Gahr Støre. 

READ MORE: Who is Jonas Gahr Støre, Norway’s likely new prime minister?

Then after that, Støre will report to the King to inform them that everything is in place for a new government to be formed. The King and the outgoing government will then set a date for the new government to take over. Finally, the outgoing government will have its last cabinet meeting. 

When all this could happen is currently tricky to predict, given that negotiations could end after a couple of days or a few weeks. However, it is widely expected that the new government will take over sometime in October. 

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Norway and UK sign joint declaration on cooperation 

Norwegian PM Jonas Gahr Støre met his UK counterpart Boris Johnson in London on Friday, where the pair signed a joint declaration on strategic cooperation between the two countries. 

Norway and UK sign joint declaration on cooperation 

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre visited Downing Street on Friday and met UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, where the pair signed a declaration of cooperation between the two countries. 

“Britain is a good neighbour and close ally. We have a long tradition of close cooperation. The British are now outside the EU, and bilateral cooperation is becoming even more important than before,” Støre said in a statement on the government’s website

The joint declaration on bilateral strategic cooperation outlines defence and security, the climate and environment, research and innovation and education and culture as issues the two countries wish to cooperate on in the future. 

Støre’s visit was the first bilateral meeting of the countries’ PMs since Brexit. The pair also discussed the green shift, the war in Ukraine and defence. 

Støre also arranged a round table conference on energy, the climate and business with the UK Minister of Trade, Kwasi Kwarteng, and a number of representatives from Norwegian and British firms. 

“The green transition is important for our two countries. I spoke about our great ambitions for offshore wind, and this is one of many areas where Norway and the United Kingdom can cooperate more,” Støre said. 

Earlier this week, the Norwegian government announced that it would build 1,500 offshore wind turbines by 2040

Last year, the UK and Norway signed a post-Brexit trade deal, which the Norwegian government said was the largest free trade agreement the country had entered into outside of its arrangement with the European Economic Area.