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Centre-left victory in Norway September 15, 2009

Posted by Sverre in : Norwegian politics , comments closed

It now seems more or less certain that Norway will see 4 more years with a centre-left government under Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg from Labour. At the moment the right wing parties are throwing blame around and the centrist liberal party Venstre (Left) lies in shatters. The party president has announced his resignation.

More than a socialist victory, this election is a hard blow to the centrist parties in Norwegian politics. Fighting between the two major blocks seems to have drawn voters especially from Venstre who defended their position in between the two blocks. Infighting and chaos among the right wing parties must probably also account for a major part of the loss.

On the socialist side of the centre, voters appear to be shifting from the more radical Socialist Left (SV) to the more moderate Labour. The centrist coalition partner Senterpartiet (the Centre Party) keeps their members of parliament. What this means for shuffling of cabinet seats remains to be seen.

Norwegian election thriller September 14, 2009

Posted by Sverre in : Norwegian politics , comments closed

Votes are being counted in the Norwegian parliament election. At the moment, 78 % of the votes are counted and the official prognosis is at 86 seats to the government centre-left block and 83 seats to the right-wing block. Jens Stolenberg’s cabinet seems to be hanging on by it’s teeth. Getting through the finance crisis so far with the lowest unemployment might be an important reason.

Still, things are far from decided yet. This will be undecided for hours yet.

Norway goes Keynesian January 26, 2009

Posted by Sverre in : Norwegian politics, Political economy , comments closed

keyneshalvorsenThe ongoing finance crisis has certainly given classic Keynesianism a new boost. And few countries have embraced this as clearly as Norway did today. The center-left government under Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg from Labour (Arbeiderpartiet) and Finance Minister Kristin Halvorsen from the Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti) introduced a massive expansion package aimed at combating unemployment.

The package expands the national budget directly with about 2o billion NOK (roughly 2.2 billion € or 2.86 b$), with nearly 17 billions increased expenditure and over 3 billion worth of tax cuts. With secondary effects, the government estimates a total expansive effect of 27 billion NOK, reducing the substantial oil-boosted government surplus. When correcting for petroleum-based offshore income, the government now estimates a government deficit of 119 billion NOK for 2009. This sums up to an expansion of the oil-corrected government budget of 2.3%, substantially higher than the 1.5% goal set by the EU. (more…)