“Europe’s Most Leftist Government Defeated by Right Wing Coalition.” – Asbjørn Wahl

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Asbjørn Wahl, author of The Rise and Fall of the Welfare Statehas written an article for Transform about the recent Norwegian elections.

He outlines the defeat of Norway’s left as:

The red-green coalition government in Norway, whose political platform when it took power in 2005 was called the most progressive in Europe, experienced a bitter defeat in the country’s parliamentary election on 9 September. A coalition of four centre-right and right wing parties, including a right wing populist party, gained a solid majority and are now negotiating the political platform for a new government.

He goes on to talk give a breakdown of the voting:

Let us first recall what happened. The defeated government consisted of three political parties (percentage gained at the recent election and change since 2009 in parenthesis): the Labour Party (30.8, -4.5), the Socialist Left Party (4.1, -2.1) and the Centre Party (mainly a peasant or rural party) (5.5, -0.7). This majority government came to power in 2005 and was re-elected in 2009. The opposition has been made up of (from right to centre) the Progress Party (16.3, -6.6), the Conservative Party (26.8, +9.6), the Liberal Party (5.2, +1.4) and the Cristian Democrats (5.6, -0.0).

He then attempts to answer the question: “Why did more and more of the red-green voters become discontent with ‘their own’ government.”

It was not mainly about wages, income or ordinary people’s material living conditions (except for rocketing house prices, which make it more and more difficult for young people to enter the housing market). It was first and foremost related to the development of the labour marked (not all of it, there is obviously a polarisation going on). Those who toil and moil the hardest did not feel that they were represented by anyone in the red-green alliance. Quite the opposite, although under pressure from the trade union movement, the government did introduce some important measures against social dumping.

You can read the article in full at its original source here.

Asbjørn Wahl’s book, The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State can be bought by clicking on the cover image below. Or, click on the banner above to get 40% off in our Back2Uni sale! The sale ends Friday so get in there quickly!

Wahl T02422“With his focus on the shift in the balance of power behind the flourishing and now the destruction of social democracy. Asbjorn Wahl has produced one of the best analyses of the politics of the welfare state. He also draws on ideas from struggles across the world for building a new power for democratic ownership of the economy – the only basis on which our social rights can have a future.”

Hilary Wainwright, editor of Red Pepper and author of Reclaim the State (2003, 2009)

“This scholarly and thoughtful yet accessible book is relevant to the whole of Europe and the world. The social model of the Welfare State is one of the greatest conquests in the entire history of human emancipation and the ongoing attempt to destroy it is a crime against humanity. We should read it, learn from it and organise so as to fight back with all our strength.”

Susan George, President of the Board of the Transnational Institute

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