Oslo Progress Party leader steps down

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Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet, FrP) politician Christian Tybring-Gjedde announced on Monday he’s standing down as leader of the party’s Oslo chapter. The resignation took many party members by surprise, but the outspoken and often controversial politician said leadership is tough, and it’s time others did their share.

Christian Tybring-Gjedde surprised many of his colleagues when he announced his resignation as the leader of the Progress Party's Oslo chapter. PHOTO: Fremskrittpartiet

Christian Tybring-Gjedde surprised many of his colleagues when he announced his resignation as the leader of the Progress Party’s Oslo chapter. PHOTO: Fremskrittpartiet

Tybring-Gjedde told newspaper Aftenposten he won’t stand for re-election after three years as the Oslo branch leader at the annual county meeting on February 15. “It’s tough to be leader of Oslo FrP, and it’s natural that someone else takes the baton and runs on,” he said. “There are many episodes that have been arduous. I have stood on the barricades for the Progress Party and what I believe in, now someone else gets to take over and do what they can.”

Tybring-Gjedde is renowned for his strong conservative views on many social and cultural issues, particularly immigration. He has warned of “sneaking Islamization”, and the threat foreigners pose to Norwegian culture, rhetoric that runs contrary to the views of more moderate party members. He has been a member of parliament since 2005, and sits on the foreign affairs and defense committees.

Others’ turn to contribute

While he wouldn’t single out any potential candidates for the role, Tybring-Gjedde had a pointed message for others in the party he believes aren’t pulling their weight, reported Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “There are some who should maybe take more responsibility,” he said. “I feel that they have skimmed the cream. They must take responsibility and stand for election as leader. Those who this applies to, they know who they are. They sit in well-paid positions, and have seldom or never given anything for free to the party.”

The chair of the Progress Party’s Oslo branch nomination committee, Beate Holland, said she was surprised by Tybring-Gjedde sudden resignation. Holland told Aftenposten she didn’t know what his motivations were, and there’s no obvious successor yet. “We’re working on that, and we’ll see which position we reach eventually. We must take a little more time, and I have no name to offer.”

“Christian has been a very good leader,” said Camilla Wilhelmsen, Oslo Progress Party’s political deputy. “He is fearless and clever. I would have liked to see him be re-elected.” Organizational deputy Peter N Myhre also told Aftenposten he didn’t see the resignation coming. It’s understood Tybring-Gjedde will remain in politics, despite passing up the leadership role.

newsinenglish.no/Emily Woodgate