Norway forms a right-wing coalition government

AP News
Posted: Sep 30, 2013 4:56 PM

STAVANGER, Norway (AP) — The leader of Norway's Conservative Party announced on Monday that she is forming a right-wing minority government, the first in the oil-rich country to ever include the anti-immigration Progress Party.

The two-party coalition is expected to tighten immigration policies. Many in Norway, which is widely considered to be a tolerant, liberal country — have called for a reduction in immigration, and the Progress Party has capitalized on that.

Erna Solberg, whose Conservatives finished second in this month's parliamentary election, will team up with the Progress Party, which came in third. Solberg praised her party's cooperation with the Progress Party but left the door open for the two smaller center-right parties — the Christian Democrats and Liberals — to join the coalition, saying she is eager to work with them, too.

"Now the Conservatives and the Progress Party start real negotiations on the government platform. This is the start of a committed relationship," Solberg told reporters in Parliament.

In the Sept. 9 national election, the Conservatives and the nation's three center-right parties won a majority, but only the Progress Party agreed to team up with the Conservatives. Progress Party leader Siv Jensen said it hopes to tighten the nation's asylum policies, secure more rights for the elderly and reduce Norway's inheritance tax.

The new government is scheduled to take office on Oct. 14.

It will replace a moderate but left-leaning coalition led by the Labor Party, headed by outgoing Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg. It has governed Norway for eight years, and Labor will remain the largest party in Parliament.

Post-war, right-wing coalitions have often been fractious and fallen apart in Norway, as they did in 1986, 1990 and 2000. If the current one doesn't last, the Labor Party could quickly reclaim power, as it has three times since 1986.