Norway's ruling party wins general election

Snorre Valen in 2015. Tore Sætre

"It looks like a clear victory" for the center-right, Solberg told cheering supporters in Oslo just after midnight (2200 UTC), following Monday's voting.

"Our solutions have worked". Despite lower oil prices and a migration crisis, the government "delivered on what we have promised", said Progress leader Siv Jensen, who served as finance minister in the current coalition. "We all must take responsibility".

Norway's Green Party is seeking to end all oil exploration, claiming the practice is environmentally damaging, while other minority parties are also aiming to limit the amount of new oil exploration areas. Its 49 seats were a loss of six from what it held in the previous 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.

There was no immediate announcement about forming a new government, but the four-party center-right alliance appeared nearly certain to continue.

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.

Solberg has won credit for the upturn with a no-nonsense style of management. 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.

"Regardless of which government we get, the challenge will be to use less oil money", said Erik Bruce, chief analyst at Nordea Markets.

Norway's Center Party is the biggest victor with a 4.0 percentage point improvement over the previous 2013 election.

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.

"We have done our share of the job". "I believe the next term will make those differences even more visible, because we won't have all these oil billions that can be pumped into the budgets at the pace we've seen over these past four years".

The report, based on data from the Gallup World Poll which analysed more than 100 world issues affecting people's lives, scored Norway highly on factors including "caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance".

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