October 31, 2018 / 7:43 AM / a year ago

Norway centrists likely to back minority government in crucial vote -TV

OSLO, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Norway’s Christian Democratic Party (CDP), which holds the balance of power in parliament, is expected to maintain its support for the minority government in a crucial vote this week, broadcasters NRK and TV2 reported.

CDP leader Knut Arild Hareide has proposed switching the party’s allegiance to Labour and forming a centre-left government. However, a narrow majority of 190 CDP delegates due to vote on the issue at a party congress on Friday said they will back Conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg, NRK and TV2 reported late on Tuesday.

If confirmed, the outcome would be a big boost for Solberg’s centre-right government, which has relied on the support of the independent CDP since 2013, and now sees a chance to form a majority cabinet that would cement its position until the next election in 2021.

Hareide’s proposal was seen as a bid to boost the CDP’s flagging fortunes after it won just 4.2 percent of the vote in the 2017 election, down from a record 13.7 percent 20 years earlier.

Hareide has grown frustrated over issues ranging from social policy to public security, and by the continued inclusion of the right-wing, anti-immigration Progress Party in government.

CDP’s two deputy leaders have argued in favour of joining Solberg’s government, preferring the party’s traditional Conservative ally over Labour.

The vote on Friday is expected to take place via secret ballot, however, and Hareide still hopes to persuade a majority of delegates to back his view.

A centre-left government could impose some restraints on Norway’s oil industry, including state-controlled Equinor , by limiting the awards of new exploration acreage, and would likely raise taxes for high earners and the wealthy.

NRK, TV2 and newspaper VG said 99 delegates at the CDP congress were expected to back Solberg’s government, above the 96 votes needed for a majority. (Reporting by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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