Page last updated at 08:22 GMT, Tuesday, 15 September 2009 09:22 UK

Norway's government is re-elected

Jens Stoltenberg
Stoltenberg: "We can continue"

Norway's centre-left ruling coalition has won a narrow victory in general elections, near-complete results show.

With 99% of votes counted from Monday's poll, PM Jens Stoltenberg's Labour-led coalition secured 86 seats in the 169-seat parliament.

If confirmed, it would be the first time a government in the oil-rich Scandinavian country has survived an election in 16 years.

A total of 85 seats are needed for an absolute majority.

The centre-right opposition parties were expected to win 83 seats.

Final results are expected later on Tuesday.

'Four more years!'

"All the votes have not been counted and it is close," Mr Stoltenberg said.

Siv Jensen (file)
Siv Jensen's party wants to broaden privatisation in health and education

"But the way it seems now, it looks like we can continue," he added.

And he the jubilant prime minister told his supporters at a rally in Oslo: "Four more years!"

Siv Jensen, the leader of the right-wing opposition Progress Party, said: "Everything suggests that... Jens Stoltenberg and Labour have won the election".

Mr Stoltenberg, in power since 2005 at the head of a three-party coalition, has emphasised his success in guiding Norway through the economic crisis.

The Progress Party campaigned on a platform of lower taxes.

Ms Jensen also wants to see tighter immigration, and stoked controversy by claiming Norway is being "Islamified".

More than 10% of Norway's residents have foreign origins. They include many asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Eritrea.

'Safe hands'

Mr Stoltenberg had said voting for the government was the safest option.

"The Labour Party has the best policies for stabilising the economy and protecting jobs," he said after casting his vote.

The world's fifth-largest exporter of oil experienced only a brief recession and has Europe's lowest unemployment rate.

The Progress Party had pledged to spend more of the country's vast oil wealth at home and to broaden privatisation in both the health and education sectors.

Print Sponsor

Islam a political target in Norway
20 Apr 09 |  Europe
Norway rated most peaceful nation
30 May 07 |  Special Reports
Centre-left bloc wins Norway poll
13 Sep 05 |  Europe
Norway's formula for a happy life
08 Sep 05 |  From Our Own Correspondent
Norway country profile
08 Nov 11 |  Country profiles
Norway timeline
18 Apr 12 |  Country profiles

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific