Norway election results: Anti-immigrant party with links to mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik set to enter government under Conservative leader Erna Solberg

Utoya mass murderer Breivik was a member of the populist right-wing Progress party, which is set to join three centre-right parties in a coalition

Norway’s anti-immigration Progress Party, which once counted the convicted mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik among its members, will enter government for the first time as part of a coalition under Conservative Party leader Erna Solberg.

Labour Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg conceded defeat on Monday night and, with 99.7 per cent of the vote counted this morning, his centre-left alliance of parties had only won 72 seats in the Stortinget (Parliament).

That was compared to the centre-right coalition of four parties which took a combined 96 seats, 11 more than the number needed for a majority.

Opinion polls published on the eve of voting predicted that Progress, led by Siv Jensen, a 44-year-old admirer of Margaret Thatcher, would win 14 per cent of the vote – and that proved an underestimate, with the latest results suggesting it took 16.3 per cent and claimed 29 seats.

Fifty-two-year-old Ms Solberg has now invited the leaders of Progress, the Christian Democrats and the Liberal Left to sit down with her and discuss the terms of a new, non-socialist coalition government.

She has been compared to Germany’s Angela Merkel, and her party took 26.8 per cent of the vote off the back of a campaign to make Norway less dependent on its massive €560 billion oil and gas revenues.

“We need new and different jobs which don’t rely on the oil business,” she said.

Mr Stoltenberg, Norway’s PM for the past eight years, won widespread admiration for rallying Norwegians in the wake of Breivik’s attacks on 22 July 2011. Seventy-seven people were murdered and a further 240 were wounded in a bomb attack in Oslo and a subsequent massacre involving scores of teenage Labour members attending summer camp on the island of Utoya. Breivik was convicted and jailed for life last year.

And while today it remains the largest single political party, taking 30.9 per cent of the vote, Labour’s popularity was badly dented by an independent inquiry soon afterwards. It concluded that Norway’s police could have prevented Breivik’s Oslo attack and that his subsequent slaughter on Utoya could have been halted earlier if officers had responded correctly and been properly equipped.

Progress will be the focus of attention when it comes to power. Ms Solberg has said that she is prepared to form a coalition with the party despite its stance on immigration. Asked about the presence of immigrant Roma beggars on the streets of Oslo, Progress’s leader, Ms Jensen, replied: “Put them on a bus and cart them back to the Balkans.”

Breivik, 34, was a member of Progress in his youth, but later left the organisation because he considered it was not militant enough.

Progress’s popularity nose-dived in the aftermath of Breivik’s massacres but it has since toned down its radical anti-Islamic rhetoric and tried to present itself as a party of government. Polls have shown that Progress appeals to one in seven of Norway’s voters.

The party has exploited the criticism levelled at Mr Stoltenberg’s government for its failure properly to equip the police. It has accused Labour of insufficiently funding other key areas including social welfare and infrastructure.

“If you look at the tragedy of 22 July, the lack of police helicopters was one of the factors for not getting police to Utoya as quickly as we would have liked,” said the Progress party spokesman Morten Hoglund. “But we are also talking about hospitals and other kinds of investment,” he added.

Yet the imminent prospect of Progress entering government has alarmed the handful of Utoya survivors who ran as Labour candidates.

“Some of their prominent figures still use very strong anti-immigrant rhetoric,” said 29-year-old Vegard Groslie-Wennesland, who witnessed Breivik’s Utoya massacre. “That sort of rhetoric will create a more hostile environment,” he added.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test