The citizens of Norway are going to the polls. What's at stake?
1. What’s it for?
Norwegians will be electing members to the Storting, which is the equivalent of Britain’s House of Commons except for the fact that there is no upper-chamber, making it a unicameral legislative-body. The leader of the party that can command a majority in the chamber will become the country’s prime minister. 169 seats are up for grabs, with members elected via a party-list proportional representation system.
2. When is it happening?
The election is taking place today (Monday 11th September). Norwegian elections traditionally take place on a Monday at the start of September. Most democracies hold elections at the weekend, usually a Sunday, making Britain’s usual Thursday elections an exception rather than the norm.
Norwegian elections are held every four years.
3. What political parties are competing?
Due to Norway’s proportional voting system, the country’s party-system is a multi-party one.
Like in Britain, the two main parties are the Labour and Conservative party’s. As of the last election, Labour is the largest party (on 55 seats) while the Conservative are slightly smaller (48 seats). The country’s third-party is the Progress party, who currently have 29 seats.
Other parties include the Christian Democrats (10 seats), the Centre Party (10 seats), the Liberal Party (9 seats), the Socialist Left (7 seats), and the Greens (1 seat).
Hyggelig "møte" med Norges rikshumorist Rolv Wesenlund i Horten. Han tok Norge og nordmenn på kornet! pic.twitter.com/O2EqfWTf6n— Jonas Gahr Støre (@jonasgahrstore) August 1, 2017
4. What is the make-up of the current government?
Even though Labour emerged as the most popular party in 2013, the Conservatives’ Erna Solberg became prime minister, putting an end to years of Red-Green-rule. The Conservatives managed to do this by forming a coalition with the Progress party, as well as a confidence and supply deal with the Liberal Party, as well as the Christian Democrats, as reported by Reuters at the time.
Labour leader Jonas Gahr Store hopes to become prime minister.
5. What are some of the main issues in the campaign?
One key issue in the election has been taxation and the economy. According to The Local, Labour’s Store has gone after the right-of-centre governments over its tax-cuts. He addressed the current PM in a recent debate, saying, “Your priorities are completely wrong”, as reported by The Local.
The government has made cuts of over two billion euro, the site reports.
6. Who will win?
Labour have been ahead of their Conservative rivals for most of the last four years in the opinion polls, however, the gap between the country’s two main parties has narrowed in recent weeks. Due to Norway’s proportional voting system a tight election could tip the balance one way or another.
According to Oddschecker, the favourite party to win the most seats is the Labour party, however, that will not be enough to secure them a place in government.
The FT has called the election "too close to call."
7. Who is the country’s head of state?
Like Britain, Norway is a constitutional monarchy with a representative democracy. King Harald V is the country’s head of state, having been in the role since 1991.