Norway’s Prime Minister Tightens Grip With Majority Government

(Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Erna Solberg has tightened her grip on politics with a deal that secures a parliamentary majority to a conservative-led government in Norway for the first time in more than three decades.

The government agreed to broaden the ruling coalition to four parties with the addition of the Christian Democrats. The deal, which was formalized after a vote on Thursday, includes plans to cut taxes, reduce road toll fees and increase child benefits. The prime minister was also forced to provide some minor concessions on the country’s abortion laws, a contentious issue that was met with massive resistance ahead of the talks.

The new political platform contains no significant changes to the country’s oil and gas policies or to the management of its massive sovereign wealth fund, though the new government intends to set up a commission that will review the fund’s ethical guidelines.

The majority government will continue to “create a sustainable welfare society and transition the economy,” Solberg, 57, said at a news conference after the vote.

Bringing together Norway’s four center-right parties had long been an ambition for Solberg. The deal should give the prime minister more scope to cut taxes and introduce proposals designed to reduce the economy’s reliance on oil and gas production.

Record Stimulus

Solberg’s government, which also includes the Progress Party of Finance Minister Siv Jensen, has steered Norway through one of its worst downturns, with record fiscal and monetary stimulus helping to rescue the economy from the impact of weak oil prices. Solberg was first elected in 2013 and secured a second term in 2017.

Thursday’s agreement is also expected to result in a cabinet reshuffle. In January 2018, when the government expanded to include the Liberals, it gave them three ministerial posts. The Liberals and the Christian Democrats have 8 seats each in the 169-strong parliament.

The last time Norway had a conservative-led majority government was in the mid-1980s.

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