The voting is underway, and the pundits say it is still all to play for in Norway’s general election. Polling booths were opened early on Sunday to help those who have work committments later today, the official date for the ballot.
One of them was Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik, a 58-year-old Lutheran priest whose centre-right Christian People’s Party has campaigned on a promise to cut taxes. Norway is the world’s third largest oil exporter, and the question of how to handle the wealth it generates has been central to the debate. Bondevik, who has won little credit for the healthy economy, has been accused of doing too much to help the rich. His main rival, Labour party leader Jens Stoltenberg, wants to boost taxes to help the elderly, invest in education and create jobs. A pragmatic economist, he has been branded an “Armani socialist” by critics. Some polls give him a slight edge over Bondevik, while others predict the prime minister will win another term. It is expected both men would have to rely on smaller parties to build a majority coalition.