Per Sandberg’s decision to step down as a deputy leader of the conservative Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet, Frp) comes just two weeks before he’s due to publish a book about his politicial life that’s provocatively titled “Against my will.” Many party fellows fear the book will be an exposé that may harm the party, right after it finally won government power.
Sandberg, who’s been an outspoken Member of Parliament for Frp since 1997, had earlier turned down offers to be both justice minister and transport minister in the new conservative coalition that assumed government power last week. That also surprised many both inside and outside the party, who’d assumed Frp’s top officials would all take on ministerial posts.
Sandberg told website dagbladet.no, though, that he was resigning as deputy leader a year before his term was up because he was exhausted, wanted to spend more time with his family in Sør-Trøndelag and no longer had the motivation necessary to carry out his duties.
“We’ve had a lot of family councils, evaluated the issue back and forth,” Sandberg told Dagbladet. “I’ve thought about the belastingene (burdens) I’ve had to endure in recent years, and the decision to resign came after a total evaluation.”
Party leader Siv Jensen, now Norway’s finance minister, said she knew it had been a “difficult” process for Sandberg and that she respected his decision. “I’m also glad that he stressed he will continue to work for the party in Stortinget,” Jensen added, noting that he is not giving up his seat in parliament.
Sandberg didn’t tell anyone at the party’s national board meeting over the weekend that he was stepping down, and his choice of the word “belastningene” indicates he hasn’t always been fond of his job. More on that is likely to emerge in his new book, the contents of which hasn’t been shared with everyone in the Progress Party who’ve requested a sneak peek. That in turn has make some party fellows nervous, not least after Sandberg’s publisher Arve Juritzen told state broadcaster NRK on Tuesday that Sandberg’s “speaks from the gut” in his autobiography.
“If people have anything to fear then they surely have something to fear,” Sandberg himself cryptically told NRK on Tuesday. Asked whether his resignation as a deputy party leader had anything to do with the book, however, he replied “absolutely not.”
The political and media buzz stirred up by the resignation is clearly providing Sandberg with some good publicity. Newspaper Aftenposten speculated that he resigned via Dagbladet on Monday to retain control over his fate and maybe his book, after Jensen had revealed to rival website vg.no Sunday night that Sandberg was evaluating a resignation. The book is due out November 14.