Giske may make a comeback

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Trond Giske, the former top Labour Party politician toppled by sexual harassment charges against him, was disappointed the party won’t take up his case again for further examination. Nor will it pay his attorney’s fees, but Giske claims he wants to remain active in the party and may mount a comeback.

Trond Giske had to go on national TV to try to defend himself, and apologize to the women he offended, during the height of the sexual harassment crisis for Labour. Now he seems keen on mounting a political comeback. PHOTO: NRK screen grab

Labour sent a letter to Giske last week that it considers Giske’s case closed. Last year’s conclusion that Giske violated the party’s internal guidelines was reaffirmed and Giske’s request for a new evaluation was denied.

Giske accepted the decision, and told reporters that while he was disappointed, he was glad that he could continue to remain fully active in Labour Party politics. Even though he was stripped of his deputy leader post, he remains a Member of Parliament and has now returned from both sick leave and several months of leave with his family.

Now he’s keen to get back to work at the grassroots level in his native Trøndelag, where he remains popular, and with the labour union movement. Newspaper Klassekampen reported this week that a majority of Labour Party officials in the largest cities and towns in Trøndelag want to re-nominate him to Parliament in connection with the next national election in 2021.

Skepticism remains, with some Labour Party politicians viewing Giske as more of a liability than an asset. Newspaper Dagsavisen, which editorially supports Labour, reminded readers last weekend that no single issue caused more problems for Labour last year than the sexual harassment allegations against Giske. He took all attention away from politics, as Labour laboured itself to deal with a high-ranking party veteran who allegedly soiled or defied the party’s own polices on gender equality. His management style, not least when he served as a government minister, was also described as difficult and demanding.

Labour’s standing in public opinion polls plummeted from around 28 percent to just 22 percent when “the Giske case” dominated headlines at the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018. His behaviour towards women was described as out of line with the party’s expectations, and it remains unclear when or whether he’ll win back the confidence of party leaders, who also declined to cover Giske’s legal bills. Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported that Giske declined to respond to questions about how much his lawyers had cost, and the lawyers involved wouldn’t comment either.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund