Erna Solberg will be the Prime Minister of Norway for a further four years, after a close election victory last night.
Aquaculture was by no means a topic that engaged Norwegian voters. It was definitely not where the battle stood, simply because there has been too little separating the views of the political parties represented in the Parliament. Other issues have been much more engaging to the electorate.
However, the Labor Party’s decision to go to elections with a tax increase of €1.6bn cost them votes, and ensures a renewed confidence in a government consisting of the Conservative Party and the Progress Party.
The voters’ voices provide some lessons.
The Green Party (MDG) has long had a favorable poll, but had to deal with an election result far below four percent. The party has stood for the most controversial views on the aquaculture industry, demanding closed containment systems by 2025. Had the Green Party come to power, it would have dramatically affected the industry.
The Socialist Party has also pledged to phase out open cages in favor of closed containment. But they have not been as categorical in imposing a technology choice on the aquaculture industry.
Neither of these parties will dominate for the next four years, simply because they gained votes on behalf of the biggest loser, the Labor Party. The Center Party also took votes from the Labor Party.
The red–green coalition was far from being a majority.
This means stability and further development of Erna Solberg’s “sea blue” political program. In terms of fish farming policy, it means continuing the battle against sea lice, a growth freeze and hopes associated with development permits.
In addition, nobody should be surprised if the Progress Party’s vice president, Per Sandberg, moves up to other and more prestigious tasks than being Minister of Fisheries for a government that has long been the guarantor of zero growth and the introduction of production fees.