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Norwegians cast votes in election.

Sofia 9 September 2013(BBC)-Norwegians are voting in an election that is expected to result in defeat for Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.

Mr Stoltenberg's centre-left coalition, in office since 2005, has been trailing an opposition alliance led by Erna Solberg's Conservative Party.

Ms Solberg may depend on the support of the anti-immigration Progress Party to form a government.

It is Norway's first general election since attacks by a far-right extremist left 77 people dead.

Dozens of Labour Party youth activists, who survived Anders Behring Breivik's shooting spree on the island of Utoeya in 2011, are running for parliament.

But the wave of sympathy for Labour in the wake of the attacks seems to have evaporated, and analysts say the Norwegian people now appear ready for a change of government after eight years.

"The country is doing well, but that's thanks to the oil, not to the leaders," one 29-year-old Progress Party voter told AFP after casting his ballot at Oslo's City Hall.

"It's time we changed the government," he added.

Extreme rhetoric The Progress Party has tried to shake off its association with Breivik, who was once a member but left several years before planning and carrying out his attacks.

The party has had to moderate its rhetoric about the Islamification of Norway, because it resembled too closely Breivik's views, says Johannes Berg from the Institute of Social Research in Oslo.

"The most extreme statements that they've made in the past they can't repeat now," he says.

The party, led by Siv Jensen, has been running third in opinion polls.

But the Conservatives' Ms Solberg wants to continue Norway's existing immigration policies and, if they are to form a coalition government, will have to negotiate with Ms Jensen for her to abandon several manifesto promises, says the BBC's Lars Bevanger in Oslo.

HU

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Publication:Sudan News Agency
Geographic Code:4EXNO
Date:Sep 9, 2013
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