OSLO - Norway’s left-leaning government appeared to have won reelection yesterday after using oil money to shield the Nordic welfare state from the global recession, exit polls and near-complete results showed.
If the results are confirmed, it would be the first time a government in Norway has survived an election in 16 years.
An official projection with 98 percent of votes counted showed Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg’s Labor-led coalition winning 86 seats to keep a slim majority in the 169-seat Parliament. Exit polls by broadcasters NRK and TV2 suggested similar results.
“Labor has had a very good election. . . . Let’s hope it’s enough to go all the way,’’ Stoltenberg told supporters chanting “four more years.’’ He stopped short of declaring victory.
Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere, also of the Labor Party, said the result indicated Norway would continue to buck a trend that has seen center-right blocs take power in Sweden, Denmark and Finland.
Leaders of the fragmented opposition all but conceded defeat.
“Everything suggests that . . . Jens Stoltenberg and Labor have won the election,’’ said Siv Jensen, who heads the right-wing populist Progress Party.
Norway has escaped the financial crisis largely unscathed, partly by tapping into its oil- and gas-fueled sovereign wealth fund, currently valued at more than $400 billion.