OSLO – The Norwegian Labor Party began coalition talks with other members of the center-left bloc on Tuesday, seeking to form a government after winning the parliamentary elections with a focus on climate change and oil.
Labor leader Jonas Gahr Stoere will seek to address voters’ concerns about global warming and the widening wealth gap, while ensuring that any transition away from oil production – and the jobs it creates – is progressive.
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Stoere’s goal is to convince both rural centrists and the predominantly urban socialist left to join him, which would give his cabinet 89 seats, four more than what is needed for a majority in the assembly of 169. seats.
“There is more that unites us than divides us,” Stoere told reporters outside his home in Oslo on Tuesday after speaking on the phone with other party leaders.
He must persuade them to compromise on policies ranging from oil and private property to non-member Norway’s relations with the European Union.
In particular, Stoere must persuade them to compromise on energy policy, including where to allow exploration while reducing emissions.
“The likely trade-off is to restrict exploration, and less explored and mature areas are easier to stop exploration,” said Baard Lahn, a researcher at the Oslo-based CICERO climate think tank.
“In addition, the industry has indicated that it is less interested in these areas at this time. This is a possible outcome, but what it will look like exactly, there are many possibilities. “
Norway produces around 4 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, which represents more than 40% of export earnings.
But most major parties also believe that oil will play a smaller role over time and hope that the engineering know-how of oil companies can be transferred to renewables, including offshore wind.
Conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg has said she will step down after eight years in power as soon as a new government is ready, with a Stoere-led cabinet able to take office in mid-October.
Monday’s result means the Labor Party needs neither the Marxist Red Party nor the anti-oil Green Party to rule, reducing the pressure for big changes.