A majority at the Christian Democrats (KrF) extraordinary National Assembly wants the party to enter the bourgeois Government against Party Leader Knut Arild Hareide’s wishes. Hareide announces that he will resign as his dream of a left turn was shattered, paving the way for a continued Solberg Government.
The result was received without applause. Just a single shout in jubilation, which was immediately clubbed down by the director.
With 98 against 90 votes, the bourgeois option won the majority at the extraordinary National Assembly. Two abstained.
This means that Party Leader Knut Arild Hareide resigns as he announced just before the vote and that Prime Minister Erna Solberg (Conservatives) can continue to lead Norway – and probably expand her Government with a fourth party. After five years leading a minority Government, she can likely experience a majority in the Norwegian Parliament (Stortinget) for the first time.
A moved Knut Arild Hareide says that he is disappointed by the result.
– But the Christian Democrats’ soul does not depend on who the party is working with, he states after the defeat was announced.
He points out that many are happy and many are disappointed, encourage the winners to show generosity, and the losers to respect the outcome of the vote.
Norway’s bravest politician
Current Deputy Leader, Kjell Ingolf Ropstad has been the main advocate for the «Blue» alternative and is now emerging as the Christian Democrats’ next candidate as Leader of the party.
He thanked Hareide in his speech.
– You are Norway’s bravest politician and I am incredibly proud of you, he says, for which he received prolonged applause from the delegates.
– I hope this is for the last time we talk about «Red» and «Blue». From now on we stand together and we are once again all yellow, he adds.
The other Deputy Leader, Olaug Bollestad, had a lump in her throat when she took the floor. She says that the party must build safety in order to trust in each other.
– In fact, I also think we must be able to forgive each other. I feel the need to apologize, she continues.
Sees no future to the right
The choice of the path ahead means that the Christian Democrats (KrF) will seek government cooperation with the current Government. The third option, to remain in opposition, got the least votes – 30 in the first round.
Knut Arild Hareide wanted to lead the party into Government with Labour (Ap) and the Centre Party (Sp) for the first time in history but did not succeed in this. Hareide was clear in his speech that he believes the party has no future either in opposition or in continued bourgeois cooperation.
– Since 2001 we have worked together with the Conservatives. It’s 17 years where our support base has fallen steadily, Hareide implores.
– We must take a choice in order to survive. I believe that it’s in the centre/left that our potential is greatest, Hareide continues.
In his speech, Ropstad emphasized all the concessions that the Christian Democrats has achieved from the bourgeois in the last five years.
– Considering its size, there’s hardly any political party ever, that has achieved more impact than the Christian Democrats (KrF) have, he says.
A shame that Hareide resigns
Prime Minister Erna Solberg (Conservatives) says she thinks that it a shame that the Christian Democrats’ choice of path leads to Knut Arild Hareide’s resignation.
– I want to say that I think it’s a pity that Knut Arild does not want to continue as the Party Leader, but I have both understanding and respect for that decision, Solberg states.
She goes on to say that she has appreciated the cooperation she has had with him.
– I have worked well with him for many years, and we have had many good and confidential conversations and found good solutions, the Prime Minister continues.
Red promises fierce opposition
Leader of Red, Bjørnar Moxnes, wish to turn the majority in important matters through pressure from the outside and promises a fierce opposition.
– A slight majority in the Christian Democrats has now made the party a hostage to the Progress Party (Frp). That is deeply regrettable. The parliamentary foundation of the Government is, however, more fragile than ever before. We promise a continued fierce opposition to the Government in the future, and there is already a queue of issues that will be difficult for the Christian Democrats in the Parliament, Moxnes promises.
The Party Leader believes it will be harder to achieve consent in the Norwegian Parliament with a majority Government to the right.
– But with assistance from the outside, we will do everything we can to turn the majority in important issues in the future, as we saw in the fight for the battle for reservation rights (in medical questions). The same was true of the proposal for gilded after-pay for parliamentary representatives. Red will lead the opposition inside the Parliament and lead the movement against the «Difference Society» in Norway outside it, he rounds off.
The Christian Democrats’ choice is an opportunity lost
Socialist (SV) leader, Audun Lysbakken, fears that the Christian Democrats’ choice to enter into negotiations with the current Government will affect vulnerable groups hard.
– This is a lost opportunity to ensure that fewer children will grow up in poor families, for smaller economic differences and for an aggressive climate policy that actually has an impact, according to Lysbakken.
In addition, he believes it will be far more difficult for Norway to meet its climate goals.
– With both the Christian Democrats (KrF) and the Liberals in Government, it is no longer possible for environmental partners to find each other across the divide. This strengthens the power of the Conservatives (Høyre) and the Progress Party and weakens the possibility of reaching Norway’s climate targets.
He fears that the Conservatives and the Progress Party will have more power to conduct their policies.
– Now we obtain a Government that becomes more asocial in the economic policy. With a majority government, the bourgeois policy, with increased inequality in power and wealth, will win through more often, the Conservatives and the Progress Party has today increased its influence over the Norwegian society.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today