As Americans are debating over how to react to the situation in Syria, there have been some fascinating developments elsewhere in the world well worth noting.

For example, one of Scandinavia’s most nanny-state governments has had an election that tilted their state dramatically rightward:

Conservative Party leader Erna Solberg — nicknamed “Iron Erna” for her tough image — will become Norway’s new prime minister, as the leader of a center-right coalition government.

Solberg thanked the voters Monday for a historic victory in the oil-rich Nordic in a parliamentary election that yielded the best result for the conservatives in 28 years.

Norway’s new Prime Minister, Erna Solberg

The reason for her success?

“I call it government fatigue. The Labor coalition has been in power for eight years and one would expect that some voters now think it is time for a change,” said Frank Aarebrot, professor of comparative politics at the University of Bergen.

In retrospect, it is interesting to note that oil has funded one of the most socialist of Europe’s socialist democracies. The discovery of oil and gas in Norway’s waters in the 1960s allowed Norway to create a strong welfare system and a high living standard. However, in recent years, the nation has been trending more toward capitalism:

In recent years the Norwegians have been adjusting their model to get the best combination of state control and global competition. In 2007 they merged two state companies, Statoil and Hydro, in order to create a national champion. They also reduced the state’s share to 62.5%. For some this shows that Norway is liberalising….

Norway has also caught the region’s enthusiasm for entrepreneurship. The government is promoting new businesses through bodies such as Innovation Norway and university science parks. Venture-capital firms such as Northzone, too, are on the lookout for clever ideas.

Down-under, Australian elections also resulted in a conservative swing:

Australia’s conservative leader Tony Abbott has claimed a decisive victory as voters punished the outgoing Labor government for six years of turbulent rule and for failing to maximise the benefits of a now fading mining boom.

Mr Abbott, a former boxer, Rhodes scholar and trainee priest, promised to restore political stability, cut taxes and crack down on asylum seekers arriving by boat.

“From today I declare that Australia is under new management and Australia is once more open for business,” Mr Abbott told jubilant supporters in Sydney.

As the American economy sputters and our leaders struggle to maintain some semblance of credibility, it is good to see Norway led by a new “Iron Lady” and one of our biggest allies getting back to serious business. I can only hope our elections in 2014 turn our country in a similar direction.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.