Behind closed doors, outgoing KrF leader Kjell Ingolf Ropstad personally said goodbye to party colleagues at the national meeting on Friday morning.
There he passed the leadership club to the acting party leader, Olaug Bollestad.
– It was very melancholic, sad and special, says Ropstad about the last speech as party leader.
He adds that he has also been very grateful to the party in recent days.
It was also a special day for Bollestad. For the second time, he will temporarily take over as party leader.
– I really appreciate Kjell Ingolf as a person and as a leader. I know this is a difficult day for him and his family, at the same time I respect the decision he has made. I will do my best in my job as the functional leader of the party, says Bollestad.
He will not answer questions about whether he also wants the post of party leader permanently. She and Dag Inge Ulstein stand out as the relevant candidates. Together with Ropstad, they form the parliamentary group of KrF in the future.
Nor will Ropstad say who he thinks his successor should be. At the same time, Ropstad promised the party that he is highly motivated for the role in the three-man group at the Storting.
– We are a very nice group with Olaug and Dag Inge. They are very skilled politicians and potential party leaders, and we have experience as ministers. I believe that together we can achieve a lot, says Ropstad.
He does not think that KrF ends up completely in the shade with a clear red-green majority in the Storting.
– I have seen as a minister that you can influence a lot in politics also from the opposition. I will contribute to that, he says.
– I am proud of what we have achieved.
The national board of the Christian Popular Party met at 11 a.m. to set the course for the election of a new party leader after dramatic weeks.
First, KrF obtained the worst electoral result since 1936. The party finished below the 4 percent threshold and obtained only three parliamentary representatives.
On Saturday 18 September, the party leader and Minister for Children and Families, Kjell Ingolf Ropstad, resigned as party leader and minister.
The background was Aftenposten’s revelations that he and several other politicians have lived for free in Oslo at the Storting’s expense because they did not report that their parents moved out. It also took active steps to avoid a tax bill of 175,000.
– There will be a time for a hug and a good talk with each one, but for now I just want to say: thank you very much, said Ropstad when he left.
– I am proud of what we have achieved. Throughout eight years as part of the majority and the last two and a half years in government, we have been able to help shape Norway, said Ropstad.
Several union delegates from the party have said that the party leader should sit in the Storting. Veterans like former Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik and outgoing parliamentary leader Hans Fredrik Grøvan also believe that the party leader should sit there.
Narrow the circle of leadership candidates to Bollstad or Ulstein. None of them have denied or confirmed their candidacy. But Bollstad has said he is willing to step in as interim leader until the national assembly elects a new permanent leader.
KrF Women wants Bollestad as the new leader. KrFU wants Ulstein.
He goes to an extraordinary national gathering
But whether KrF union delegates supported the red or blue side in 2018, they agree that the party now needs a leader who can lead the party to new groups of voters and increase the number of votes.
On Friday, the National Board will discuss and adopt the additional process for the election of a new leader. The attitude of the national board is secret. But the Dagen newspaper has previously written that the central board recommends an extraordinary national meeting on November 13.
The planning for the extraordinary national meeting appears in a case document the administration sent to the party’s national board on Wednesday.