Labour leader, Jens Stoltenberg, is celebrating after his centre-left grouping claimed victory in Norway’s general election. With nearly all votes counted, the former Prime Minister’s alliance has a majority with 88 seats in the 169 seat parliament.Stoltenberg campaigned for tax hikes to increase spending on jobs, education and care for the elderly .
But he faces weeks of wrangling with his coalition partners to hammer out common policies. The outcome is a double defeat for the outgoing Prime Minister, Kjell Magne Bondevik, and his four year old centre-right alliance. Voters ditched his government despite Norway’s oil-fuelled economic boom and a quality of life that has earned the country the title of best place to live in a UN survey for the last four years.
He says he will stay on as caretaker leader until parliament opens next month. The result also leaves Bondevik’s party behind its informal ally, the anti-immigrant Progress Party, led by Carl Hagen. It became the second biggest party on the right with 37 seats. Norway has some of the lowest immigration levels in Europe, but Hagen wants tight controls.