Grande confronts own sex rumours

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Liberal Party leader Trine Skei Grande has felt a need to confront “rumours of a sexual character,” just as she was about to be named as a minister in Norway’s new conservative government coalition. “I’m no abuser,” Grande told newspaper Aftenposten.

Trine Skei Grande has admitted to “certainly doing some stupid things” before becoming a top politician, but claims she’s not guilty of any sexual harassment or abuse. PHOTO: NRK screen grab

Prime Minister Erna Solberg was due to unveil her new government ministerial lineup Wednesday afternoon following an extraordinary Council of State at the Royal Palace with both King Harald V and Crown Prince Haakon. Crews have been busy clearing snow away from the palace grounds, where three new ministers from the Liberal Party would be presented and others would be presented with new assignments.

The new ministers from the Liberal Party were due to include Grande, who’s expected to become Norway’s new minister in charge of cultural issues, her deputy leader Ola Elvestuen, expected to become climate and environment minister, and Iselin Nybø of the Liberals, due to become minister in charge of research and higher education.

On the evening before Solberg was due to unveil her new coalition of the Conservative, Progress and Liberal parties, Grande was compelled to reject reports swirling that she engaged in sexual harassment of a younger party fellow 10 years ago. The rumours picked up while Grande was taking part in government negotiations at Jeløy during the past two weeks.

“I have lived a completely normal life,” she told Aftenposten. “I have normal friends. I have grown up in Trøndelag, I have been drinking at parties. I landed in top politics several years ago, and that wasn’t something I had planned.

“I have certainly done some stupid things, but I’m no abuser.”

The “rumours of a sexual character,” as Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) described them, involve an incident between her and a younger man at a summer party. Grande has not commented on the rumours earlier.

She told Aftenposten, however, that she has spoken about the incident and revealed her version of the story in conversations with Solberg before becoming a member of Solberg’s government. She said that many female politicians are targets of rumours, and she stressed that she told the truth to Solberg.

“I don’t tell anything else,” Grande said, “but I’m certain that others are trying to spread another story. I can only tell it as I experienced it, and I’ve done so to several who have asked.” She added that it was difficult to be a target of rumours it was difficult to defend herself against.

Grande wouldn’t go public with more details of the alleged incident or publicly reveal her version of the story. NRK reported Wednesday morning that it had been in contact with the man involved and he didn’t want to comment on the issue. The press contact for Grande, Jan Christian Kolstø, said Grande wouldn’t elaborate on what she told Aftenposten.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund