We do not yet know the scale of the long-term consequences of corona. In the meanwhile, we are beginning to look back on the cases we argued about before the pandemic, and the autumn of 2020 has a lot to offer politically. Below are some of the topics we will follow closely for the next months.
The National Budget
On October 7th, the Government will reveal their proposal for the 2021 national budget. This will be the final national budget proposed by the current Government before the parliament election on September 13th in 2021. Moreover, this is the first time under Erna Solberg’s reign that Frp is in an oppositional position. Frp will probably play hardball to prove that it was the right decision to leave the Government. At the same time, Venstre and KrF needs to prove that the removal of Frp was the right thing to do.
Initially, the national budget presented the final major opportunity for the Government to implement the platform to pave the way for a re-election of a Conservative Government in 2021. However, the corona pandemic arrived at a delicate time. Managing crisis demands lots of resources and time. Which political promises will be put on hold as a result? Which measures and means will be proposed?
Corona – back to the future
Norway managed the crisis well during the intensive period in March and April. However, we are now facing the long road out of the crisis. The authorities must balance between slowly re-opening more of society before closing in again as soon as infection rates increases. This may be a situation lasting for several years.
Not all decisions made by the authorities goes without debate. Asking people to wear face masks, stricter opening hours for bars, limitations for a lot of sports, everchanging travel advice and other measures are proving more challenging as people’s patience decrease. If people continue to lower their guard, the Government will have to choose between stricter means or increased infection rates.
Studies also shows that peoples trust in each other decreases. According to Opinion’s Norwegian Corona Monitor, 55% of the population do not trust that other people will follow the authorities’ advice. Norwegians’ trust in their fellow countrymen have decreased every month since May. At its lowest point in August, only 16% were confident that most people would follow guidelines. Thus, convincing people to continue their voluntary efforts in the coming time may prove difficult.
The things we argued about before Corona
Getting back to normal also involves bringing back the same cases as we dropped when the pandemic hit Norway. And there is a lot to choose from.
NVE has proposed a new grid rent to the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy. The Government’s report for the Parliament on wind power will lead to “historical effects” for onshore wind power. A new report for Parliament regarding Cure for Climate 2030 will launch measures to reduce climate emissions in the non-quota sector. Additionally, the Government will propose a new long-term plan for the Armed Forces, after the previous proposal was rejected.
New Party Platforms and Nominations for Parliament
During the autumn, the different parties will present proposals for party platforms that till apply until 2025. The corona pandemic has shown how hopeless planning too far ahead may be. At the same time, these processes can provide a political rejuvenation that is sorely needed.
The Parliament is also experiencing changes. During this autumn, the various parties will approve parliamentary lists for the election which is to be conducted in 19 counties. After all, the constitution has not received its regional reformation, which still states that the country will be divided into 19 parliamentary districts. Out count shows that 45 have refused re-election. Arbeiderpartiet and KrF experience the largest changes. Until the final lists are approved between November and February, even more changes and scenarios are likely to occur.
For the 2021 election, there will also be a change in the distribution of the 150 district seats. The counties of Møre & Romsdal, Buskerud and Oppland will all lose one seat each. Oslo will receive one more, while Akershus gets two new seats. These changes may prove decisive in the power battle between city and countryside, and it will be an additional factor to account for in what looks to be a thrilling parliamentary election in 2021.
This year has already lasted for too long, and we are still only in September. We can only stay put and hope for the better.