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Norway

Yearbook 2001

2001 NorwayNorway. In the spring, foot-and-mouth disease in Europe resulted in Norway closing the border to Sweden for some food, despite the fact that neither country was affected.

According to Countryaah, the populist Progress Party (FRP), which was the largest party in opinion polls last autumn, lost half of its sympathizers at the beginning of the year. The decline followed a bitter power struggle between party leader Carl I. Hagen and primarily the party's Oslo district. The party board suspended or excluded a number of senior members. The settlement was seen as an attempt by Hagen to clear out the most outspoken immigrant opponents to have the party accepted as part of an upcoming bourgeois government. However, the government dream was shattered when Frp's vice-president was accused of rape and forced to resign.

2001 Norway

The ruling Labor Party (AP), which wanted to modernize the public sector, made only temporary public opinion gains following Frp's decline. Høyre, who promised to improve the worn-out schools and at the same time lower taxes, took the initiative instead and became the largest party in the public opinion during the summer. Thus there were three prime ministerial candidates: Høyre's leader Jan Petersen, the incumbent Head of Government Jens Stoltenberg, Ap, and the former central government's Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik, Christian People's Party, Krf.

The parliamentary elections in September were won by Høyre, who went from 23 to 38 seats. Ap became a loser with a decline from 65 to 43 seats. The left wing was partially offset by the Socialist Left Party more than doubling its mandate from 9 to 23, but the AP government chose to resign. The center shrunk and was no longer a realistic government alternative. The right leader then invited two of the middle parties, Krf and Venstre, to talks about a broad bourgeois government, but the negotiations failed. Bondevik, whose Krf received 22 seats in the elections, took over the initiative and managed one of the three parties around a joint program. With Bondevik as prime minister, Petersen as foreign minister and Left's leader Lars Sponheim as agriculture minister, a minority government was formed, which in the Storting became dependent on the Progress Party's 26 mandate.

The election movement was unusually quiet, as the nation was occupied a few weeks before the election by the royal wedding held between Crown Prince Haakon and Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby.

Finland's largest asset manager Sampo tried during the year in vain to acquire the Norwegian insurance group Storebrand. The AP government and a majority in the Storting wanted Den norske Bank to take over Storebrand and keep the company in Norwegian ownership. The fight was described in the Norwegian press as a "international fight", as the Finnish state is a partner in Sampo.

The Norwegian state oil company Statoil was partially privatized in June on the Oslo Stock Exchange. The company's share price fell soon, and in the autumn oil prices fell below the level that was the basis for the government's 2002 budget proposal.

The major Kværner Group was threatened with bankruptcy but was offered the rescue of the Russian oil company Yukos Oil, which wanted to become its largest shareholder. However, it was financier Kjell Inge Røkke who managed to take over that role and start a rescue operation that was expected to give Kvaerner 3.5 billion Norwegian kroner. Thus, Røkke had definitely established himself as Norway's industrial king.

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