Election race in Norway too close to call

norwayelectionThe latest TNS Gallup polls indicate that rival coalitions in the run up to this month’s election in Norway are virtually even. The incumbent Labour-led coalition is still the most popular; but statistics reveal that the parties face major challenges in trying to maintain their current stronghold.

The opposition coalition, comprised of the Progress, Christian People’s and Conservative parties reached a level of support of 44.8 percent, a mere 0.2 percent behind the government coalition.

The senior government coalition Labour Party is still the preference in single party voting with 31.9 percent of those surveyed indicating their preference to vote this way in the election on 14th September. However, this is a drop of 2.8 percentage points in the last two months. The right-wing Progress Party followed closely on 23.8 percent. The Conservatives and Socialist Left received 14 and 7 percent respectively.

The current government, comprising of Labour, Socialist Left and Agrarian parties, has seen its slim 2005 majority come under threat in recent months following a leaked letter from UN Ambassador Mona Juul criticising UN chief Ban Ki-Moon, which Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg was quick to distance himself from, claiming overwhelming support for the UN head and pledging ongoing commitment.

Mr Stoltenberg has managed to steer Norway out of the global recession through huge investment in energy resources and proposed tax cuts in a bid to become the first PM re-elected in 16 years. It may not be quite enough.

The Norwegian parliament, or Storting, comprises of 169 elected members on a 4-year term and is voted through proportional representation in multi-seat constituencies. The proportional representation system has resulted in a multi-party system which effectively makes single party rule highly unlikely, hence the ongoing coalition government framework.

Voting in Norway is held every two years, alternating between local and parliamentary elections.