Norway goes to the polls in 'election thriller'

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Solberg and her junior coalition partner, the right-wing populist Progress Party, have been backed during the past four years by the centrist Liberals and Christian Democrats.

"Our solutions have worked".

Jacobin's Ellen Engelstad - editor of the online journal Manifest Tidsskrift - had a chat with Marie Sneve Martinussen, the deputy leader of Rødt (the Red Party) about their strategy for the election and their analysis of the current state of affairs in Norway.

"It's a big disappointment", opposition Labour leader Jonas Gahr Stoere said, conceding defeat for his party that has been a dominant force in Norwegian politics for a century.

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.

For many in Norway, such a development would be relief after the last four years of tax cuts for the rich and attacks on the country's still extensive labor protections.

"We'll need to communicate even more clearly with our voters on the big dividing issues, which are about economic policy, welfare policy", said Labour's economy spokeswoman, Marianne Marthinsen.

The Norwegian currency, the crown, strengthened slightly following the first projections after falling sharply earlier in the day on weaker-than-expected inflation data. But much of the turnaround followed unprecedented government spending, as Solberg tapped into Norway's oil wealth.

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. She will go down in history as the country's first prime minister to make direct withdrawals from Norway's sovereign wealth fund, valued at nearly €84 billion.

That stance is unlikely to change now that the government has been re-elected.

Solberg told her supporters "we get four more years, because we have delivered results".

The rural Center Party, which was the election's single biggest victor with a gain of 10 seats, has called for a public inquiry into the country's relationship with the EU.

Stoere, who sometimes compares himself to French President Emmanuel Macron, took over the leadership of the Labour Party from Jens Stoltenberg, who left Norway to become NATO's secretary-general.

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