Norway’s leftist opposition set for landslide win, complex talks


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OSLO — Norway’s center-left opposition parties are on course to win the country’s parliamentary election, in which debate has centered on economic inequality and climate change, projections showed as voting ended on Monday.

Labour Party leader Jonas Gahr Stoere is widely expected to form the next government, either ruling in a minority or together with several other parties, thus bringing to a close Conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s eight years in power.

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But to form a viable cabinet Stoere must convince potential center-left partners to compromise on policies ranging from oil and private ownership to Norway’s EU relations.

Norway’s status as a major oil and gas producer has been at the heart of the campaign though a transition away from petroleum – and the jobs it creates – is likely to be a gradual one despite progress by pro-environment parties.

“I believe that calling time on our oil and gas industry is the wrong industrial policy and the wrong climate policy,” Stoere told reporters on Sunday after casting his ballot on the first day of the election.

Labour and four other center-left parties could swing to a combined majority of 102 seats in the 169-seat assembly, up from 81 currently, the Directorate of Elections projected based on a partial vote count.

(Reporting by Terje Solsvik, Victoria Klesty and Nora Buli, Editing by Timothy Heritage and Gwladys Fouche)