Photographer: Fredrik Bjerknes/Bloomberg

Norway’s Green Party Prepares to Leverage Its Growing Power

The Norwegian Green Party says it will exact a price should it emerge as a kingmaker after next month’s election.

Defining themselves as independent of any political bloc, the Greens are prepared to leverage their rising power and play hardball in any political negotiations following the Sept. 11 election. With opposition Labor stumbling out of the blocs as campaigning started in earnest this month, smaller factions could hold the key to power in post-election wrangling.

“The government that gives us the most of our policies has the better chance to get our support,” Rasmus Hansson, the party’s sole member of parliament, said in an interview.

The Greens, formed in 1988, entered parliament for the first time after the 2013 elections. The party is now polling at 4.6 percent according to an NRK Norstat poll released Tuesday, above the 4 percent threshold required to compete for so-called seats at large in parliament. That would mean 8 seats, giving it significantly more legislative influence after the election.

The Greens are fighting to stop the opening of new acreage to explore for oil and gas off Norway, a contentious position in a country that has built its wealth on oil and gas production over the past four decades. Such a move is rejected by both Labor and the Conservatives, the two biggest parties vying for power.

Conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg says the plan is a non-starter for the more established parties. “The question remains how they will use their power, there is a large degree of uncertainty about that type of alternative to Norwegian petroleum policy,” Solberg said in an interview on Monday.

Hansson says Norway simply has no choice and needs to start planning now for a future without oil.

Not only will it prevent Norway from destroying more of the Earth’s climate, but it will “prevent the decline in the oil sector from happening in a chaotic and dangerous way,” he said.

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