Election winner flags human rights violations in Russia

Erna Solberg is likely Norway's new Prime Minisiter.

Norway’s center-right government, expected to assume power after landslide election victory, will maintain people to people cooperation across northern borders with focus on organizations and institutions.


Conservative party winner Erna Solberg will take over from Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg after her alliance with right-wing Progress Party, Liberals and Christian Democrats takes 96 seats of Norway’s 169 member parliament. The take-over is likely to come by mid-October and the precise composition of the new government is still a question for negotiations among the four parties. 

In its election manifesto, the Conservative party states that they will continue the collaboration between Norwegian and Russian organizations and institutions as well as cooperation from people to people. In the manifesto, named “New ideas, better solutions” the Conservatives underline the need to maintain the constructive relationship to other Arctic nations, especially Russia, in matters of mutual interest.

Norway’s foreign policy is traditionally the topic that has strongest consensus among all parties in the Parliament. Changing from the current Labor and its allies, the Socialist Party and the Center Party, will therefore not mean significant immediate changes. The Conservative Party, however, says it is needed with a sharpened note against the violations of Human Rights. Their program reads: “Reinforce Norwegian efforts to strengthen human rights and counteract the tendencies towards more authoritarian forms of governance in Europe.”

Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide, currently chair of the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence, is one of the names in speculations to be the Conservative Party’s new Foreign Minister. Interviewed by Morgenbladet, she says Norway will sharpen the tone towards Russia regarding violations of human rights. Another name in speculation to take the important Foreign Minister post is Børge Brende, currently Managing Director of the World Economic Forum.

The first meeting between Norway’s new Foreign Minister and Russia’s Sergey Lavrov will likely be at the Barents Council meeting in Tromsø on October 28th and 29th.

Erna Solberg (in the middle) visited the Norwegian Barents Secretariat in 2010 to learn more about the regional cooperation with Russia in the north. Here together with Laila Dalhaug (left) and Rune Rafaelsen (right). (Photo: Jonas Karlsbakk)