Stoltenberg still favorite premier

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Former Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg was finally off taking some holiday this week. Many Norwegians, however, still wish he was back home running the country.

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg was looking forward to head out hiking again this summer in the Norwegian mountains. PHOTO: Statsministerenskontor

Former Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg was on holiday this week, but has made it clear he’s keen to win back the job he held for the past eight years. PHOTO: Statsministerens kontor

A new public opinion poll conducted by research firm Norstat for Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) shows that fully 44.7 percent of Norwegians questioned think Labour Party leader Stoltenberg is still best suited to be Norway’s prime minister.

The poll showed that 40 percent think the country’s new prime minister, Erna Solberg of the Conservative Party, is best suited for the job. Another 15.4 percent were unsure who they wanted to have as their prime minister.

Solberg had no reason to be too disappointed, however, since a majority of those polled still wanted a non-socialist majority in the Parliament. They simply seemed to prefer Stoltenberg as premier, two months after the parliamentary election in September and three weeks after he had to turn over his office to Solberg.

Helga Pedersen, deputy leader of the Labour Party, was delighted by the poll results, adding that “we’re very proud of our party leader.” Stoltenberg, one of the most popular prime ministers in Norwegian history and respected by colleagues on both the right and left sides of Norwegian politics, himself has made no secret of the fact that he’s very keen to resume his office, either at the next election or mid-term if the new Conservative-led coalition were to fall.

Solberg was relaxed about the poll results. “Folks have to get used to me as prime minister, and then we’ll see how things develop,” she told NRK. “It’s always more difficult to actually be prime minister, but at the same time you get the chance to show how you can fill the role.”

She was also consoled that her Conservative Party (Høyre) gained 1.4 points to claim 27.1 percent of the vote  in NRK’s party barometer for November. While Labour remains the largest party in the country with 31.4 percent of the vote, Høyre won government power with the Progress Party (Frp), which now holds 15.3 percent of the vote, down from 16.3 percent at the last election.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund