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FILE PHOTO: Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg speaks during the opening of a production line for the car industry at a branch of Norway's Hydro aluminum company in Grevenbroich, Germany May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo


OSLO (Reuters) - Norway's Liberal Party will launch formal negotiations to join the right-wing cabinet of Prime Minister Erna Solberg, it said on Saturday, although the government would still be ruling in a minority even if the small centrist group is included.

Informal talks have taken place since the government won re-election in September, and bringing in the Liberals could give a boost to policies favouring small businesses, the environment and education.

"We are going to give ourselves a chance ... to find a common platform we can agree on," Liberal Party leader Trine Skei Grande told a meeting of her party in parliament on Saturday, adding it would be a "challenging and difficult" process.

Adding the Liberals to the coalition of the Conservatives and the anti-immigration Progress Party could make day-to-day governing easier for Solberg, although she would still require backing from another small party, the Christian Democrats.

The prime minister has sought to include both of the small centrist groups, but the Christian Democrats, which back Solberg on fiscal matters, have rejected the offer.

(Reporting by Gwladys Fouche and Terje Solsvik in Oslo; Editing by Andrew Bolton)

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