EU news: How Norway could follow Italy and be brought to its knees | World | News

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It comes after Norwegians voting in local elections abandoned major parties in record numbers, opting for a plethora of smaller groups in the latest show of political discontent in Europe. And, like Italy, it is feared Norway could become the latest nation to witness the collapse of its ruling coalition government, led by Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s Conservatives and her government partners, the Liberals, the Christian Democrats and Progress.

Johannes Bergh, head of the Norwegian National Election Studies (NNES) program at the Institute for Social Research, told Express.co.uk how the Norwegian government could be brought to its knees.

He said: “They have certainly been at odds for this entire six-year period.

“We have had a central-right government for six years and only in the last year has it included all four parties.

“These parties are quite different and there’s a lot of potential for conflict between these parties – each of these four parties do not have loyalty to the coalition.

“If they at some point find that there’s more to gain by being opposition than being in government, we could easily see a breakdown of the government.”

But he said he believed the coalition government would hold out to avoid the “defeat of the government”.

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Mr Bergh said: “The problem is the next parliamentary election is two years away – this would be a defeat for these parties if they end up withdrawing from government – so it would be beneficial for them to continue and try to gain influence within the coalition government.”

Among the decisions driving discontent is the forced merger in recent years of several municipalities, along with unpopular decisions to reorganise the police and hospitals, leaving some communities with less access to public services.

But Ms Solberg’s four-party Cabinet recently came to the brink of collapse over disagreement on whether to pay for roads and public transport with more tolls on drivers.

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Mr Bergh said the political instability was a consequence of having a number of political parties in Norway vying for power.

He said the local elections, which took place in September, had a illustrated a “fragmentation of Norwegian politics” with smaller parties gaining ground and the two major parties – the Labour and Conservative – losing voters.

This saw a boost for a broad range of parties, including Socialists, Communists, the Greens and the rural Centre Party, as well as the pro-motorist FNB, which dedicates itself to opposing congestion charges and other road tolls, in the local elections.

Although regional votes have no impact on the composition of parliament and a general election is two years away, analysts say it makes it more difficult to govern due to the growing rural-urban divide and a backlash against government reforms.



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