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Labour, Conservatives big winners in Norway

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Labour, Conservatives big winners in Norway
Photo: Kjetil Ree
11:29 CEST+02:00
Norway's Conservative and Labour parties came out on top in local elections that saw the populist anti-immigration party lose ground in the aftermath of the July attacks, near-definitive results showed on Tuesday.

Voter turnout stood at just 62.5 percent compared to 61.2 percent in 2007, in the first elections since the massacre committed by Anders Behring Breivik.

Norwegian politicians had urged the electorate to come out en masse to show their disdain for the anti-immigration extremist's views.

The 32-year-old, who killed 77 people in twin attacks on the government offices in Oslo and a Labour party youth camp, claims to hate western-style democracy because it is at the heart of the multicultural society he detests.

According to the local government ministry, the Conservative Party saw its support rise by 8.7 percentage points from the previous local polls in 2007, to 28 percent.

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg's Labour party, the primary target of the July attacks, received a wave of public sympathy immediately after the killings.

Before the summer the party had been expected to lose ground but ultimately saw its score rise by two points, to 31.7 percent.

The big loser was the right-wing anti-immigration Progress party, of which Behring Breivik was a member until 2006.

The party's support fell by six points to 11.5 percent.

According to observers, the decline was not directly linked to the party's ties with the killer. The party had vehemently distanced itself from him, and had already seen its support fall prior to the attacks.

The party was hit in early 2011 by a sex scandal that was badly handled by the party leadership, according to political commentators. It then had to tone down much of its anti-immigration rhetoric during the election campaign.

Monday's election result is not expected to lead to any major changes in Norway's biggest cities, with the centre-right retaining power in Oslo and Bergen and the centre-left holding its own in Trondheim.

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