Hagen drops mayoral race

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Carl I Hagen, the veteran politician and former head of the conservative Progress Party, says he’s giving up the campaign for mayor of Oslo because the public seems to so clearly favour one of his opponents, incumbent mayor Fabian Stang of the Conservative Party.

The Progress Party's Carl I Hagen is dropping out of the mayor's race in Oslo. PHOTO: Fremskrittspartiet

Hagen told newspaper Aftenposten on Friday that he has realized he has no chance of winning the mayoral race and doesn’t want his own party’s politics to suffer because of it. He’s afraid more voters will vote for the Conservatives (Høyre) than the Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet, Frp) just to ensure that Stang is re-elected as mayor. Hagen said that if he pulls out of the race, there’s a bigger chance more people will still vote for the Progress Party.

Hagen, age 67, emerged from retirement to enter the mayor’s race in Oslo. He now concedes that both Stang and Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg did a good job during and after the terror attacks of July 22, and that strengthened both their parties. He has noted that the Conservatives’ campaign material prior to the municipal elections on Sept 11-12 claims that “if you want Fabian as mayor, you must vote for Høyre.”

Meanwhile, some of the Progress Party’s own campaign material has struck a sour note with some voters, according to newspaper Dagsavisen. New ads mounted around town read “More democracy, more openness…”, which were the words used repeatedly by Stoltenberg of the rival Labour Party to describe how Norway should and did react to the terror attacks.

“I don’t like that at all,” voter Linn Noreide of Oslo told Dagsavisen. “If anyone has the right to use those words, it’s Labour.” She claims the Progress Party is “stealing” Labour’s slogan.

Tor Lindborg of Nesodden agreed, calling the Progress Party’s posters “flippant and disrespectful.” Another voter called them “almost comical.”

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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