Kåre Willoch's government
October 17, 2021
Kåre Willoch's government was the Norwegian government from 14 October 1981 to 9 May 1986. It was appointed as a pure Conservative government, but was expanded by several parties during the period. After the 1981 parliamentary elections, there was a bourgeois majority in the Storting, with the Conservatives as the largest bourgeois party with 53 representatives and 31.7 percent of the vote. The Conservatives first entered government alone and it was thus a minority government. The government became the first pure Conservative government since 1928. Later, on 8 June 1983, it was expanded to a coalition government between the Conservatives, the Christian People's Party and the Center Party. The government then became a majority government with a total of 79 representatives behind it in the Storting (78 was necessary for a majority). After the parliamentary elections in 1985, the government became a minority government, with 78 representatives behind it in the Storting (79 required for a majority). The parliamentary basis was filled in by the Progress Party's (Frp) two representatives. The government sat until 9 May 1986. It fell after a cabinet question in the Storting. Government policy The 1980s have been referred to as the "liberalization decade" in Norwegian history. The government is often associated with the "breakthrough of neoliberalism" in Norwegian politics, although such a change had gradually begun even before the Labor Party lost power in the 1981 election and it continued after the Labor Party regained power in 1986. This neoliberal breakthrough has been particularly linked to the liberalization of the banking market and of housing policy, as well as the abolition of the broadcasting monopoly and the liberalization of the Closing Act. The first two were in place even before the government took office, but it is especially the last two Willoch governments that helped to implement them. With regard to amendments to the Closing Act - which regulated opening hours for shops and outlets - a committee, the Opening Hours Committee, had already been appointed before the 1981 election which provided a NOU which formed the basis for the changes implemented by the Willoch government. Shortly after the election, the government opened up the possibility of establishing local radio stations in Norway, and the winding up of NRK's broadcasting monopoly was thus underway. The resignation of the government In the spring of 1986, the price of oil had fallen from 29 to 15 dollars a barrel, and in March the government presented an "Easter package" with 16 austerity proposals. One of the points was to increase the petrol tax by 42 øre per liter, and the government first went to the Labor Party for support. However, the Labor Party demanded that Willoch also raise the top tax in order to agree to a tax increase they were actually in favor of. Willoch was not willing to agree to this as the Conservatives thought it could harm economic growth. The government was now dependent on the Progress Party's support for survival, but Carl I. Hagen had promised in the election campaign to fight all tax and duty increases, the petrol tax in particular. At the same time, he had also promised not to overthrow a bourgeois government. The day before the government asked cabinet questions about the Easter package, the FRP issued a press release stating that "voters could trust Hagen in the matter of petrol prices", and the government's fate was thus sealed, and the government resigned on 9 May 1986.