Norway's centre-right opposition, promising tax cuts and smaller government, is set to win Monday's election, but faces tough talks on forming a coalition with a populist party that wants to spend more of the nation's vast oil wealth.
The Conservatives, led by likely future prime minister Erna Solberg and three potential allies, were on course to collect 96 seats in parliament, 11 more than needed for a majority, leaving prime minister Jens Stoltenberg's Labour and its allies with just 73 seats, government projections showed.
Norway has enjoyed rare economic success thanks to its booming offshore oil sector boosting per capita GDP to $100,000 (£64,000). But growth is slowing, the government's record on critical social services is mixed and voters accuse Stoltenberg of wasting a once-in-a-lifetime economic boom.
"If all goes right, the Conservatives will reduce the public sector, stimulate growth within the private sector, increase exports, make us less dependent on the oil and gas industry and create new types of jobs in Norway," said Oslo teacher Daniel Gaim, 37, who supported the government four years ago.
Labour could remain the biggest party in parliament with around 30% of the vote, exit polls showed, followed by the Conservatives with 26% and the populist, anti-immigration and anti-tax Progress party with 16%.
Tony Abbott is Australia’s 28th prime minister after a decisive swing to his Liberal National party Coalition – while Kevin Rudd has stood aside as Labor leader, taking solace in a party defeat that was not the rout widely predicted.
Tony Abbott claimed victory in front of ecstatic supporters at the Sydney Four Seasons hotel, declaring: “Australia is under new management and Australia is once again open for business.”
He promised his government would “be competent and trustworthy”, would “purposefully and steadfastly and methodically … set about delivering on our commitments” and would govern for everyone.
Is a trend developing toward greater fiscal conservatism?