Kristin Halvorsen has led her political party, the Socialist Left (SV), longer than anyone else in Norway, and shows no signs of giving up her spot at the top. She told party colleagues over the weekend that she’s ready to take on another term.
Halvorsen, who turned 50 earlier this year, won her first seat in Parliament (Stortinget) in 1989 and took over as SV boss in 1997. She led her party to government power in 2005, when she joined the bosses of Labour and the Center Party in forming the so-called “red-green” left-center coalition that’s ruled Norway ever since. The coalition won re-election last year.
Since then, though, SV has taken a dive in public opinion polls and the conservative side of Norwegian politics has gained enough steam to mount a considerable challenge to the current government. Halvorsen seems to like the challenge.
“We have a considerable challenge again,” she told party faithful on Saturday. “That’s to make SV’s standing bigger than today, so we can win the (next national) election in 2013.”
Halvorsen, who served as finance minister until last year and now is Norway’s education minister, won a standing ovation when she announced her decision to continue as party leader. Despite the party’s poor showing in the polls recently, Halvorsen has broad support and respect from party members and no one is running against her. That means she can continue as party leader as long as she wants to do so.
“There’s only one basic question: Did I want to battle against the Conservatives and the Progress Party?” she told party members. “And do I want to fight for a fair society? The answer is ‘yes.'”