Norway's ruling party claims election win

Norway's conservative leader Erna Solberg embarks on her second tour as prime minister with support from the Progress Party

Norway's conservative leader Erna Solberg embarks on her second tour as prime minister with support from the Progress Party

Norway's tax-cutting Conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg declared victory on Tuesday after a parliamentary election, narrowly defeating a Labour-led opposition with her promises of steady management of the oil-dependent economy.

Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg, right, celebrates after the election with Minister of Health and Care Services, Bernt Hoie, left and Minister of Local Government and Modernisation, Jan Tore Sanner, in Oslo, Norway, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017.

"It looks like a clear victory", a beaming Ms Solberg told cheering supporters early yesterday, following Monday's voting.

"Our solutions have worked".

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

Established in 1998 to save oil and gas revenues for future generations, the fund is now worth about 2.5 times Norway's annual gross domestic product, against original projections it would peak at 1.3 times GDP in the 2020s.

In Monday's nail-biting election, her coalition - made up of the Conservatives and the mildly populist anti-immigration Progress Party - and two smaller centre-right allies took home a thin majority of 89 of the 169 seats in parliament.

With almost 80 percent of the votes counted, the leftist Labor Party is on track to have the most seats in the parliament, but it and potential support parties on the left don't appear to be tallying enough to form a majority in the 169-seat Storting.

Ms Solberg, 56, plans more tax cuts to stimulate growth for Europe's top oil and gas producer.

One of the two parties, the Liberals, wants strict limits on oil and gas exploration in Arctic waters.

And the head of the other small party, the Christian Democrats, warned Solberg he would not automatically back every government decision.

Solberg has won credit for the upturn with a no-nonsense style of management. The nation's economy also has the cushion of a sovereign wealth fund worth nearly US$1 trillion (S$1.35 trillion), the world's biggest, built on income from offshore oil and gas.

The second is whether the fund should be allowed to invest in new asset classes, including unlisted shares and unlisted infrastructure projects, to boost its rate of return, something that is supported by the fund's existing managers.

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