Norway’s Conservatives won elections in a landslide on Monday but faced tough coalition talks with the populist Progress Party, which wants to curb immigration and spend more of the country’s accumulated oil riches, Reuters reports. Led by 52-year-old Erna Solberg, the Conservatives promise to diversify the economy, which is heavily oriented toward the oil sector, privatize state firms and reduce some of the world’s highest tax rates to give the private sector more breathing room, reports Reuters. Solberg, who is nicknamed “Iron Erna” for the tough stances, including on asylum policy, she took when serving in the cabinet as the Minister of Local Government and Regional Development between 2001 and 2005, described today’s election results as a “historic election victory for the right-wing parties”, reports the BBC.
According to Reuters, Solberg’s hardest task will be to tame the anti-immigration, anti-tax Progress Party, which would enter government for the first time if the coalition negotiations are successful. While Progress has turned down its rhetoric, it is seen by many as too radical for government, and once had among its members Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in 2011 in a gun and bomb attack targeting the Labor Party, which had been in power since 2005.
“The difference between the Progress Party and the center parties is big,” Johannes Berg, a researcher at the Institute of Social Research, told Reuters. “It is possible to make a government but it will be very difficult.”