In six days, Norway is going through its 2021 general election. What does it mean, you’ll ask. Well, it means that the Norwegian people get to elect the 169 members of the « Storting », « big thing » in English, which is the equivalent of the Parliament.
They are elected every four years and it brings the political colors to light for the years to come by a form of proportional representation. Basically, it insures that no party gains too much power, especially that most parties ally in coalitions in order to get more percentage of representation. Note that 85 seats are needed to gain a majority. In 2017, it’s the Conservative-Progress coalition that won for the second time in a row with a majority of of 88 seats (less than with the 2013 election).
The Prime Minister, usually a party leader from one of the main parties in power, is then nominated by the main parties and that is how Erna Solberg a Conservative from Bergen, mind you, remained Prime Minister for eight years. In eight years, she secured the adhesion to her coalition of the Progress party, the Liberals, and more recently the Christian Democrats. It’s kind of the parties you expect in a traditional right wing in a country, the more extreme on the right of the spectrum being the Christian Democrats.
As before, the main « forces in power » this year are the Conservatives and the Labour party, a social-democratic mainstream left-wing party led by Jonas Gahr Støre. Other smaller parties that end up being determinant for the coalitions are right-wing Progress party, the more central Center party, the left-wing and progressive Socialist Left, the Green party and the left-wing Red party. To have a better explanation on what is what and how, I invite you to read this explanation by Norway Today.
What is particular about this year is that a lot of people voted in advance, with 1,074,825 advance votes registered as of today, which corresponds to 27.6% of the voters. In 2017, 1,069,541 people voted in advance. Voting stations have been established since August 10 and will be closed September 10, all of that to allow people to vote in a more safe environment due to the pandemic.
Another thing to look for is the advance that the Labour party is taking, which means that Jonas Gahr Støre will probably be Norway’s next Prime Minister, but there are still a lof of unknowns so better to sit and wait.