Preliminary coalition talks continue with an expanded crew

Jonas Gahr StørePhoto: Lise Åserud / NTB

The Labor Party (AP), the Center Party (SP), and Socialist Left Party (SV) strengthened their teams when the preliminary discussions started up again at Hurdalsjøen Hotell. 

When the party delegations arrived at the hotel on Monday morning, new faces also appeared: AP deputy Bjørnar Skjæran, SP’s fiscal policy spokesman Sigbjørn Gjelsvik, and SV’s deputy Torgeir Knag Fylkesnes.

The plan for Monday’s talks is to continue where they left off on Friday and “go a little deeper,” AP leader Jonas Gahr Støre said on his way to the doors of the hotel.

“We have worked a bit this weekend as well, and there has been some contact,” he added.

No deadline set

The three parties began discussions on Thursday last week. The aim is to clarify whether there is a basis for proceeding to formal government negotiations between all three parties.

Støre originally hoped to complete the discussions before the weekend so that formal negotiations could begin as early as Monday. But the most important thing is to be confident in the decisions that are made, Støre maintains.

“I have not set any deadline, knowing that here we must take each other seriously and listen. It is foolish to rush into such a start phase. But I think we have gotten off to a very good start with good and honest conversations.”

Will take the time needed

The SP’s leader Trygve Slagsvold Vedum didn’t want to say anything about how quickly he thinks the process could proceed to formal negotiations.

“The conclusions we draw will lay down guidelines for several years, so we’ll just use the time we need,” Vedum told NTB.

He says the preliminary discussions so far have gone about exactly as he thought.

“We can only spend the day talking about things thoroughly and properly and go the rounds we need to.”

When the discussions began on Thursday, Støre told the press that he had a list of cases that the three parties were going through. According to him, the trio has been through the list that the Labor Party had presented.

“Then there are some of the things we also go into more thoroughly, and there are a number of issues we have not talked about, which can come.”

Will increase efficiency

The SV’s leader Audun Lysbakken says that two people from each party will continue the discussions but that the party has taken Fylkesnes along on Monday to get even more effective clarifications in the party leadership.

“I will contribute to efficiency, quick decisions, and what is needed,” Fylkesnes said.

In the actual discussions, Lysbakken brought along deputy leader Kirsti Bergstø. Støre brought deputy leader Hadia Tajik, while Vedum brought parliamentary leader Marit Arnstad. In addition, a number of party advisers are on site at the hotel to assist.

Good atmosphere

Before the weekend, some discussions were described as demanding. But according to Lysbakken, it has been a good atmosphere.

“And then there are real political challenges we must tackle together. Then we’ll see what time brings. I think everyone knows what is important for the SV,” he said.

“I can confirm that these are important questions that we take seriously and spend time on. But there is also a good and trusting atmosphere,” Støre said.

Vedum refused to put any labels on the conversations.

“Now we only have to work with the issues – that’s what this is about,” he said.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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