Sept 10 (Reuters) - Norway holds a parliamentary election on Sept. 14 which opinion polls show could be won by either the centre-left government or the centre-right opposition.
Following are some of the main issues:
TAXES, WEALTH AND SPENDING
The main opposition Progress Party wants to cut most taxes and increase public spending on items such as roads and elderly care and finance the public works by spending oil money now stored away in a $400-billion offshore fund [ID:nL9711125].
The centre-left government parties are committed to a rule limiting spending from the fund and seek to maintain the overall tax burden and target low unemployment as their top objective. They want to maintain a large public sector and smooth income distribution.
Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg has said "rich people should be more thankful" for their prosperity.
Opposition centre-right parties want to cut wealth and inheritance tax to promote private enterprise and privatise state assets. The Progress Party seeks to go furthest in deregulation and the opening up of Norwegian markets.
The centre-left government is split on oil drilling in the pristine Lofoten region [ID:nLQ235203].
The building of gas-fired power stations, oil group Statoil’s STL.OL oil sands projects in Canada and the Norwegian wealth fund’s stock holdings in companies with large carbon emissions are also sensitive issues for the government and centrist parties which may play kingmaker after the polls.
The main ruling Labour Party advocates a global cap-and-trade-system for greenhouse gases and carbon capture research projects, but has a long tradition of promoting investments in the oil and gas sector.
Progress wants to lower petrol taxes and questions United Nations reports linking global warming to man-made emissions.
Progress wants stricter immigration and asylum politics, limits on foreign aid transfers and closer ties with the Unted States. [ID:nL7727104]
The Socialist Left party was founded in the 1970s to oppose Norway’s NATO and EU membership and opposes sending more troops to NATO-led operations in Afghanistan.
Labour has traditionally been an advocate of EU membership for Norway but has agreed to keep the EU out of the campaign because it is vehemently opposed by the Centre Party, the third party in Stoltenberg’s red-green coalition.
Only the Conservatives have tried to re-open the EU debate during the campaign, so far without success. Norway rejected EU membership in a referendum in 1994. (Reporting by Richard Solem)