Labour’s youth group seeks new leader

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AUF, the Labour Party’s youth organization, will be electing a new leader after its controversial boss, Eskil Pedersen, decided to give up the spot. He told newspaper Dagbladet on Thursday that he will quit at AUF’s next national convention in October, and may leave politics as well.

Eskil Pedersen is stepping down after four turbulent years as leader of Labour's youth organization AUF. PHOTO: AUF

Eskil Pedersen is stepping down after four turbulent years as leader of Labour’s youth organization AUF. PHOTO: AUF

Pedersen, who is openly gay and often engaged himself in gay issues, ran into the most controversy over his leadership in the wake of the terrorist attack on AUF’s summer camp on the island of Utøya on July 22, 2011. Pedersen fled the island on its only ferry, after being told he was a prime target of the terrorist who proceeded to murder 69 people, mostly young AUF members.

Pedersen defended his decision but also ran into criticism over plans for the future of Utøya. Pedersen, long seen as a rising star within the Labour Party, ended up not winning nomination for a seat in parliament and then Labour lost its government re-election campaign last fall. Now Pedersen says he’s open to leaving politics.

“I have no plans, it’s a bit frightening,” he told Dagbladet. He may apply for jobs in the private sector or within an organization. AUF, meanwhile, has aimed to revitalize itself after the tragedy and has seen membership grow to nearly 14,000. It ranks as Norway’s largest political youth organization and holds hundreds of meetings and events at the state, county and local levels around the country every year.

newsinenglish.no staff