Voters in Norway have turfed out their government and handed victory to a centre-left alliance led by former prime minister Jens Stoltenberg, the Labour party leader. They have won despite an oil-fuelled economic boom and a quality of life that has earned Norway the title of best place to live in a UN survey for the last four years.
Stoltenberg however has attacked the outgoing Christian People’s party-led coalition for giving tax cuts to the rich, and he has promised to spend more on schools, health care, and the elderly.
The Christian People’s party’s leader Kjell Magne Bondevik says he will stay on as prime minister in a caretaker capacity until parliament reconvenes in October, but he may be upset his coalition has taken so little credit for his country’s enviable prosperity.
One factor that may worry the established parties is the strong showing made by the right-wing Progress party led by Carl Hagen, which has overtaken its rivals to become the biggest party on the right, and the second biggest overall. Norway has some of the lowest immigration levels in Europe, but Hagen wants tight controls.