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Government on trial

The reds have revealed internal strife this summer. In the fall, it is decided whether they will survive cohabitation.


[4. August 2006] In recent weeks, internal strife in the government has reached the front pages of newspapers. One by one, representatives of the three parties have cast doubt on the Soria Moria Declaration's promise not to raise taxes above the 2004 level.

Both Minister of Finance Kristin Halvorsen and Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg have found themselves forced to go out and assure that the promise will be kept – only followed by another proposal from the Center Party's seventh father in the house, Per Olaf Lundteigen. He wants a rematch for an interest rate cap on the mortgage deduction.

The case itself, we do not think there is much to argue about. The government will nevertheless increase taxes by two billion, a sum that will not overturn the burden for anyone and which in itself is to fulfill an election promise. How and which taxes to raise is an important debate, but the seriousness of this matter is not in the tax itself. The seriousness is also not in the possible breach of promise. It lies in the fact that the government parties clearly demonstrate that they are unable to stand together.

This debate should go internally in the government's red and green parties, without the various politicians taking advantage of the opportunity for solo games in the summer heat. Instead, the impression is created that the government that was to gather the people is divided by internal strife. They have not been able to prepare their own party organizations for the kind of compromises required in a collaborative government. This has been reflected in games from the left wing in the SV in the past, and it has turned out particularly rough in the tax issue now.

We believe that the temperature in this matter in the future will fall in line with the heat levels outside. But as the autumn sets in, the government will have to deal with new, controversial disagreements. When the major administrative reform on new regions as a governance level is presented in October, the government must speak with fewer tongues than they did in the summer heat. We know that tough internal struggles lie ahead for them, but this is an important reform and an important issue for all three parties.

Stoltenberg, Haga and Halvorsen do not have the very same idea of ​​what tomorrow's Norwegian map should look like. But by October they should stick their heads closer together. Then they will be up for the exam.

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