Norwegians vote in closely contested parliamentary election

Norwegians begin voting in a parliamentary election.VIDEO: REUTERS

OSLO, NORWAY (REUTERS) - Norwegians began voting on Sunday (Sept 10) in a parliamentary election whose outcome is too close to call, with opinion polls showing Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s centre-right government and the opposition centre-left bloc running neck and neck.

Solberg’s Conservatives want to cut taxes if they win a fresh four-year mandate, while the centre-left bloc led by Labour’s Jonas Gahr Stoere seeks tax hikes to pay for better public services.

The outcome could also impact Norway’s vital oil industry because to form a government, either Solberg or Gahr Stoere is likely to depend on one or more parties that seek to impose limits on exploration in Arctic waters off Norway’s northern coast.

Polling stretches over two days from Sunday  to Monday (Sept 11).

Gahr Stoere, who comes from a wealthy background, has vowed to raise taxes on Norwegians on above-average incomes.

Casting his ballot in a quiet neighborhood of western Oslo, the Labour leader expressed confidence his party could stage a late rally to clinch the election.

Solberg is expected to cast her ballot on Monday (Sept 11).