Norway government 'wins' election

An official projection with results in so far gives PM Jens Stoltenberg's Labour-led coalition about 87 seats in the 169-seat Norwegian parliament.

Two exit polls by domestic broadcasters NRK and TV2 suggest similar results.

If confirmed, it would be the first time a government in Norway has survived an election in 16 years, reports say.

A total of 85 seats are needed for an absolute majority.

"We can't say anything certain about the results," said Kristin Halvorsen, leader of the Socialist Left Party and coalition member.

"But victory seems within reach," she added.

Mr Stoltenberg, in power since 2005, has emphasised his success in guiding Norway through the economic crisis.

His main challenger Siv Jensen, of the right-wing Progress Party, campaigned on a platform of lower taxes.

She also wants to see tighter immigration, and stoked controversy by claiming Norway is being "Islamified".

More than 10% of Norway's residents have foreign origins. They include many asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Eritrea.

'Safe hands'

Mr Stoltenberg had said voting for the government was the safest option.

Siv Jensen (file)
Siv Jensen's party want to broaden privatisation in health and education

"The Labour Party has the best policies for stabilising the economy and protecting jobs," he said after casting his vote.

The world's fifth-largest exporter of oil experienced only a brief recession and has Europe's lowest unemployment rate.

The Progress Party pledged to spend more of the country's vast oil wealth at home and to broaden privatisation in both the health and education sectors.


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