Solberg will not indulge the Christian Democrats
The Christian Democrats (KrF) hopes for in place in the Norwegian Government when negotiations begin on Hadeland on Wednesday, but Prime Minister Erna Solberg (Conservatives) will not pay special heed to the party.
“It is not the case that we will pay particular heed to individual parties. I have to pay special attention to factually emerge with a result that actually makes Norway better in the years to come,” Solberg commented in NRK’s news program «the Political Quarter» on Wednesday morning, just a few hours before the Government negotiations at Granavolden Gjæstgiveri on Hadeland in Oppland county start in the afternoon.
The three Government parties sit down around the negotiating table immediately after an introductory press conference at 3 pm. The negotiations will probably last for a couple of weeks.
During boxing week, the Christian Democrats’ Deputy Leader and chief negotiator, Kjell Ingolf Ropstad, was aware that it will not necessarily end with a success. He acknowledges that all four parties must achieve some victories, including the Progress Party.
“There are four parties that will negotiate, and I acknowledge that the Progress Party must win a few – and so must we. It is not that we go into these talks with an aim to hobble the Progress Party. The aim is that we form a Government that is the best for Norway, ” Ropstad comments.
Defeat if we do not succeed
The Christian Democrats have virtually dragged their feet into the negotiating room, and Ropstad has backing from a slim majority when trying to get the most possible impact for the party’s policy in an eventual Government platform.
Abortion, child benefits, immigration, tax-free sales and climate taxes are some of the nuts that the four parties must crack. Ropstad states that the whole picture is crucial in the negotiations, but admits that a tightening of the Abortion Act is important to the party.
“It will be a defeat if we do not succeed, but that is the political world,” Ropstad admits and emphasises that the Christian Democrats do not enter into negotiations to enter the Government come hell or high water.
Before the negotiations, Prime Minister Solberg issues a clear warning that reforms and measures cannot be paid for by either higher taxes nor increased spending. Re-prioritisation must not affect the overall policy, namely job creation and «green» restructuring, she emphasises.
Minister of Finance and Progress Party leader, Siv Jensen, believe in an agreement, but has nevertheless been clear that the process stops if the three potential Government partners, the Conservatives (Høyre), the Christian Democrats and the Liberals (Venstre), agree on something that the Progress Party finds inedible.
“Then there will be no expansion of the Government. Norway has a functioning Government, and the negotiations are about whether it should be extended with the Christian Democrats or not. I’m pretty sure this is within the scope of possibility. That is at least my starting point, ” Jensen told NTB during the Boxing Week.
Hareide as Cabinet Minister
In addition to political battles, the dishing out of Ministerial positions is something that the four parties must agree on. Several central Christian Democratic politicians in the bourgeois side of the party state to the Klassekampen newspaper that they want Party Leader Knut Arild Hareide as a King’s Counsellor in a four-party Government.
Strong forces in the party work, according to Klassekampen, for the party to demand the Minister of Development and a separate Department for development aid in a potential Government. The Christian Democrats in Rogaland also wants Deputy Leader, Olaug Bollestad, to fill the position as the Minister of Health.
Hareide himself has so far rejected the possibility that he will sit at the King’s table this time around, stating that he finds it unnatural in the circumstances.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today