Erna Solberg’s Conservatives and allies on course to win election – but now have to examine immigration and spending
Norway’s centre-right opposition, promising tax cuts and smaller government, is set to win Monday’s election, but faces tough talks on forming a coalition with a populist party that wants to spend more of the nation’s vast oil wealth.
The Conservatives, led by likely future prime minister Erna Solberg and three potential allies, were on course to collect 96 seats in parliament, 11 more than needed for a majority, leaving prime minister Jens Stoltenberg’s Labour and its allies with just 73 seats, government projections showed.
Norway has enjoyed rare economic success thanks to its booming offshore oil sector boosting per capita GDP to $100,000 (£64,000). But growth is slowing, the government’s record on critical social services is mixed and voters accuse Stoltenberg of wasting a once-in-a-lifetime economic boom.
“If all goes right, the Conservatives will reduce the public sector, stimulate growth within the private sector, increase exports, make us less dependent on the oil and gas industry and create new types of jobs in Norway,” said Oslo teacher Daniel Gaim, 37, who supported the government four years ago.
Labour could remain the biggest party in parliament with around 30% of the vote, exit polls showed, followed by the Conservatives with 26% and the populist, anti-immigration and anti-tax Progress party with 16%.