‘Dead’ politician very much alive

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A local politician in Stavanger, south Norway, was believed by his party to have died two years ago when he was replaced as a local councilor – something which the man himself has only just found out.

Geir Fosse, who was a substitute representative for the Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet, Frp) in the area, noticed that he had stopped receiving council papers in the post, and only discovered the truth by searching for his own name on the internet during Easter, where he saw “Geir Fosse (deceased)” listed among council notices. A by-election was held and Kenneth Eriksen Austrheim was elected as an FrP councillor to replace Fosse in May 2009.

“Rumours of my death are greatly exaggerated,” quipped 33 year-old Fosse when speaking to newspaper VG, mimicking Mark Twain. He described how he was shocked and “his mother was also.” He suggested that his mother “should have received a condolence” if they believed he had died. Stating that he “has no idea how this happened” and his hope that “they come forward with a good explanation,” he added that “they should have checked more thoroughly.”

‘Typing error’
Frp’s mayoral candidate in Stavanger, Tore B Kallevig, later phoned Fosse to apologize, and promised to find out what had happened. “What must have happened here is a mistake with our administrative routines,” Kallevig explained to VG. He suggested that it might have been a typing error, and that this was “unfortunate” and “not very good.” The mystery was made all the more puzzling by the fact that Fosse had continued paying membership fees to the party, including for this year.

“It is good to see the boy on his feet,” Kallevig added.

Fosse, who works at a local grocery store, noted that he had received a lot of attention at work since the news broke in a local newspaper. A work colleague, speaking to VG, joked that “it’s not every day that you work with one of the living dead.”

Views and News from Norway/Aled-Dilwyn Fisher
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