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.
This happened in a situation in which oil revenue is pouring into the public coffers, the economic crisis goes virtually unnoticed, the unemployment rate is at a record low, real wages have been steadily increasing for a long time and most of the welfare state is still intact. To put it short, the country, with its abundance of oil and natural gas resources, and a history of democracy and social equality, represents a lucky exception in the world. How on earth could a red-green government at all lose an election in such circumstances?