Norway’s Conservative Party Gains Momentum Ahead of Elections

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from The Wall Street Journal,

‘Iron Erna’ Solberg’s Party Threatens to End Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg’s Tenure.

The popularity of Norway’s Conservative Party, led by “Iron Erna” Solberg, has gained momentum in the final days leading to the nation’s Sept. 9 parliamentary elections, likely spelling the end to Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg’s tenure.

As of Friday, the Conservative Party is carrying a three percentage point lead in polls over Mr. Stoltenberg’s Labor Party, according to Norwegian daily newspaper Aftenposten. Ms. Solberg’s party aims to build a four-party coalition that doesn’t include Labor.

The trend reflects a swell of discontent with Mr. Stoltenberg’s policies. Despite leading through eight years of prosperity and stability and winning international respect for how he handled the nation following Anders Behring Breivik’s terror attack in 2011, he has been widely criticized for letting Norway’s bureaucracy grow too big and not spending the nation’s wealth wisely.

Ms. Solberg, a tough leader patterning herself after the late U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, is an advocate of smaller government and lower taxes, and has promised to spend more on health-care and infrastructure reforms. During this campaign, she has worked to change the Conservative brand from the “calculator party” to one focused on safeguarding Norway’s future.

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