Oil sector in balance as Norway votes

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Oslo

Norwegians head to the polls on Monday, in a parliamentary election where the “Red-Green” opposition looks to be ahead, potentially influencing the fate of oil activities in the largest producer in Western Europe.

According to opinion polls, a clear majority is emerging to unseat Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s centre-right government, which has ruled the Nordic country for the last eight years.

The leader of Norway’s Labour Party Jonas Gahr Store, a 61-year-old millionaire who has campaigned against social inequality, seems well placed to succeed her, but the exact shape of the coalition needed to pave his way to office is still unclear.

His party’s preferred allies are the agrarian Centre Party and the Socialist Left Party, but if they are unable to reach a majority on their own they might depend on the support of the Green Party and or the communist Red Party, potentially complicating negotiations.

“I have a good feeling,” Store said as he cast his ballot at a school in Oslo on Sunday, with voting opening a day earlier in the major cities.

As of Friday, more than 1.6 million Norwegians, or 42.3 percent of the electorate, had made use of early voting opportunities.

August “code red for humanity” report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) put the issue at the top of the agenda for the election campaign and forced the country to reflect on the oil that has made it immensely rich.

The report energised both those on the left and, to a lesser extent, the right who want to get rid of oil. The Green Party is leading the charge in calling for an immediate halt to all oil exploration and a 2035 deadline for exploitation.—APP

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