Norway's PM Solberg forms majority centre-right government
(Adds details, quotes)
By Camilla Knudsen and Terje Solsvik
OSLO, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Norway's Prime Minister Erna
Solberg struck a deal on Thursday to form a centre-right
majority government by adding the small Christian Democratic
Party to her minority three-party coalition.
The agreement fulfils a long-standing goal of Conservative
Solberg, in power since 2013, who hopes that a majority will
provide stability and help ease her path to re-election in 2021.
"This is an historic day. Norway is getting its first
non-socialist majority government since 1985," Solberg said.
Norway has often been ruled by minority governments which
are forced to seek support in parliament from opposition parties
to pass laws. With a majority, Solberg will have more power.
"We had tough negotiations," Solberg said, celebrating the
pact alongside leaders of her existing partners the Progress
Party and the Liberal Party as well as the Christian Democrats.
She said the government would focus on a "sustainable
welfare society", help combat climate change, reduce taxes for
small and medium businesses, strengthen family and children's
rights, and ensure stronger security for all.
Among policies outlined in a new document by the expanded
government, western Europe's top oil and gas producer would
continue to bar drilling around the scenic Lofoten islands in
the Arctic until 2021.
The waters are also rich fishing grounds.
The oil industry welcomed the government platform, which
maintained tax breaks on exploration, among other things.
"We're happy that the government continues the broad line of
policy, securing jobs all over the country and vast income for
society," lobby group Norwegian Oil and Gas, which represents
Equinor and other major producers, said in a
The government also said, however, that it would focus more
strongly on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to limit global
warming. The 108-page policy document mentions the word "oil" 25
times and "climate" 102 times.
The three parties also agreed to a slight tightening of
abortion laws at the demand of the Christian Democrats. It would
seek to end a right for women who are pregnant with multiple
foetuses to remove one of these to limit the number of births.
A more controversial proposal, that would have ended the
right to late-term abortion in cases where a foetus is diagnosed
with Down's syndrome or other genetic conditions, was however
rejected, the prime minister said.
The Christian Democrats had previously refused to enter
government because of their opposition to the right-wing
populist Progress Party.
Recent opinion polls have shown a majority of voters backing
the Labour-led centre-left opposition.
The government made no major changes to guidelines for its
gigantic trillion-dollar sovereign wealth fund, the world's
($1 = 8.5473 Norwegian crowns)
(Writing by Alister Doyle, editing by Andrew Cawthorne)
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