People arrive to cast their ballots during general election, at the polling station at the City Hall in Oslo, Norway. Picture: REUTERS/LEFTERIS KARAGIANNOPOULOUS
People arrive to cast their ballots during general election, at the polling station at the City Hall in Oslo, Norway. Picture: REUTERS/LEFTERIS KARAGIANNOPOULOUS

Norwegians voted on Monday in an election nail-biter in "the world’s happiest country" with the outgoing rightwing coalition facing a strong challenge from the centre-left opposition.

Opinion polls in the oil-rich Nordic state have predicted an extraordinarily close race between Conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s team and the opposition led by Labour’s Jonas Gahr Store.

Several small parties could end up as kingmakers.

2014 is the year the government steered the country through an oil industry crisis

"I’m ready for four more years," the popular and experienced Solberg said as she voted on Monday in a school in her hometown of Bergen on the west coast. Everything is "set for the biggest election thriller in many decades", a political commentator said after a final opinion poll published on Saturday credited the right with the narrowest possible majority.

In power since 2013, the coalition government of Solberg’s Conservatives and the mildly populist anti-immigration Progress Party, has campaigned on a vow of continuity.

The government has successfully steered the wealthy country through two crises: the oil industry’s slump after the drop in crude prices since 2014, and the migrant crisis in 2015.

AFP

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