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Solberg To Return As PM After Close Norwegian Election

13 Septembre 2017

Prime Minister Erna Solberg says voters have given her a mandate for four more years.

The coalition, made up of the Conservative Party and the Progress Party, gained 25.1 percent and 15.3 percent of the vote, respectively. She was helped by an economic rebound in western Europe's biggest oil and gas producer, which became more pronounced in the middle of this year.

Norwegian election results from NRK/Radio Norway.

Leader of the Labour Party, millionaire and former Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, calls the result "a huge disappointment". Her stimulus program included becoming Norway's first premier to take money directly from Norway's nearly $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund to increase the government's budget.

Solberg's ruling coalition with the Progress Party is slated to win 89 of 169 seats, with 95% of votes counted.

The victor is likely to face complex coalition negotiations as a number of Norway's smaller parties prepare to make tough demands in return for their support in the next parliament.

"Then it may be a weaker government", she told Reuters.

Unemployment, which a year ago hit a 20-year high of five per cent, has since declined to 4.3 per cent, while consumer confidence is at a 10-year high.

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"Regardless of which government we get, the challenge will be to use less oil money", said Erik Bruce, chief analyst at Nordea Markets.

The sovereign wealth fund has wanted to invest in unlisted infrastructure to boost its return on investment.

That stance is unlikely to change now that the government has been re-elected. Store, himself a dollar millionaire, bled seats to the socialist parties on the left, while the big victor was the Center Party, an agrarian group opposed to centralization and Norway's free-trade agreement with the European Union. In fact, he has likened himself with the French president Emmanuel Macron, and would much rather collaborate with the center than with the Left.

"We have done our share of the job".

"We want four more years to continue doing what works", Solberg, 56, said on Monday.

The report, based on data from the Gallup World Poll which analysed more than 100 world issues affecting people's lives, scored Norway highly on factors including "caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance".

It even rose to first, from fourth, in a 2017 survey that ranked nations by happiness.

Solberg To Return As PM After Close Norwegian Election