Prime Minister Erna Solberg became Norway’s first Conservative Party leader in over three decades to be re-elected as a movement to stop further oil exploration in western Europe’s biggest petroleum producer fizzled.
“We won support for four more years because we have delivered on what we have promised and also because we have met tough challenges,” Solberg said at an election rally in Oslo shortly after midnight. “Our steady leadership has won the respect of the voters.”
An economic rebound and declining joblessness won over voters in Scandinavia’s richest nation. The 56-year-old, and the groups of lawmakers who support her achieved a late summer comeback to stay in power after spending record amounts of oil wealth over the past four years to support the economy amid a slump in crude prices.
Backing for the Green Party, which called for an end to Norwegian petroleum exploration, failed to live up to projections it could emerge as a kingmaker, a development that’s likely to be a relief for the nation’s oil industry. Norwegians have been increasingly questioning how to reconcile their role as a major oil and gas producer with fighting climate change and whether searching for more petroleum will be profitable in a world where renewable energy is taking over more and more.