An anti-immigration party in Norway's coalition government headed for its worst election result in 22 years in a local vote on Monday after its opposition to Syrian refugees put it out of step with many voters.
The right-wing Progress Party had 9.7 percent with 87 percent of the votes counted, against 16.3 percent in a parliamentary vote in 2013. "Normally the immigration debate would have been a good thing for the Progress Party, but this is not a normal debate because the catastrophe is so huge and the scenes we see unfolding so terrible," said political scientist Svein Tore Marthinsen.
Many Norwegians swung to a more welcoming mood towards refugees, especially after the body of drowned Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi was pictured washed up on a beach in Turkey this month. Many other parties argued that Norway, one of the richest nations in the world thanks to its income from offshore oil and gas, should allow refugees to settle in the country.