Støre unsure about four more years

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The next national elections are still two years away, but many politicians are already pondering their futures after the fall of 2013. Norway’s highly respected Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre hasn’t committed himself, though, to another four years.

Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre may be more comfortable in his international role than he is on the campaign trail, handing out roses for the Labour Party. He remains one of the stars of the Labour-led government coalition. PHOTO: Arbeiderpartiet

His good friend and colleague, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, recently made it clear he’s ready for four more years in his role. Stoltenberg remains more popular than ever, not least after the leadership he showed during the terrorist attacks in July. He said at a trade union federation conference that he will be a candidate for prime minister in the hopes his Labour Party wins government control for the third term in a row.

Støre, who has been Stoltenberg’s foreign minister since Labour won in 2005, told newspaper Dagsavisen that he hasn’t made such a decision yet.

“It’s a decision that has to harmonize with many things; family, the Oslo branch of the Labour Party, plans and thoughts,” Støre told Dagsavisen. “And I will make that decision when it’s natural to do so.”

Støre and Trond Giske, currently Norway’s trade minister from the Labour Party, are widely considered to be successors to Stoltenberg, if he were to step down as prime minister or Labour Party leader in favour of a job, for example, with an international organization. Some think Stoltenberg is a prime candidate for a top job at the United Nations.

Asked whether he’d like to be prime minister after Stoltenberg, Støre replied merely that “that’s an ongoing debate in the media. For me, it’s very difficult to consider something called ‘the time after Jens,’ because we’re in the time with Jens, and that’s where I intend to direct my energy.”

Støre and Giske are from opposite sides of Labour, with Støre representing the more conservative side and favouring, for example, membership in the EU, and Giske representing the more radical side and being opposed to EU membership. Giske wouldn’t comment on his plans after 2013 either, although he seems firmly embedded as a career politician. Støre, on the other hand, is also considered a candidate for a major international job.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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