Former Prime Minister Erna Solberg will neither confirm nor deny that she was willing to resign if the vote of no confidence against Sylvi Listhaug won by majority.
Former FRP leader Siv Jensen arrived Tuesday with his biography.
There she is open about her career and her partners. And share new details about what happened behind closed doors during several major political affairs in recent years.
Listhaug’s Facebook post irritated Solberg
On Friday, March 9, 2018, Sylvi Listhaug posted a photo of foreign fighters on Facebook with the following text:
“The Labor Party believes that the rights of terrorists are more important than the security of the nation. Like And Share.”
It unleashed a political storm against Listhaug and the government. Then Jensen and Solberg sat down at a budget conference in Hurdal.
– The case far overshadowed the entire budget conference. In the press session I had with Erna and Trine, there were more questions about Sylvi than about the state of the Norwegian economy. That irritated Erna and she repeated several times that she didn’t like Sylvis’s Facebook post, Jensen writes.
Jensen writes without reservation that “Erna would have been after her” if the Storting had wanted to fire Listhaug. Erna Solberg would not use those words.
“Siv and I have had a good and close collaboration for many years. Together, our parties have lowered taxes for most people, built roads across the country, and the Norwegian economy now has more legs to stand on.
I think it’s good for retired politicians to tell their side and I look forward to reading the book. Trine has also written her version, and I may come up with my version in many, many years. It is probably the sum of the different versions that represents reality ”, writes Erna Solberg in an email to Aftenposten.
Jensen did not approve of the post.
Jensen himself was “reluctant to spend time on a Facebook post” as they waited for three days of tough budget negotiations. Jensen writes that he had close contact with Sylvi throughout the drama, and they agreed that he had to apologize.
– I don’t sit down and approve of people’s Facebook statuses and I hadn’t seen Sylvis’s post before it was published, says Jensen. She had to “admit that I didn’t see its explosive power.”
He takes the reader to the prime minister’s residence on Monday, March 19, when Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Liberal Party leader Trine Skei Grande, Jensen, and a small group of close advisers met. The threat of distrust in the Storting against the government grew by the hour.
– Clearly affected and stressed
– The atmosphere was calm, but clearly characterized by seriousness. It could go against a government crisis if the vote of no confidence won the majority. Sylvi had a separate meeting with Erna, and Sylvi and I also had a four-way conversation. She was clearly upset, stressed, and unsure of the whole situation, it is said.
Jensen “didn’t want to put words in Sylvi’s mouth”, but Jensen “thinks he understood that he had no choice but to withdraw.”
Prime Minister Erna Solberg, on the other hand, declared “that we, as a government, should support the Minister of Justice, but that Sylvi had to decide what she wanted to do.”
– No one in the room pressured Sylvi to quit, writes Jensen. He went home and continued to work with Secretary General Fredrik Färber and Secretary of State Petter Kvinge Tvedt throughout the night with a message.
After midnight, Listhaug called and told Jensen that he had decided to leave.
– She took one for the country.
– Sylvi impressed me. In a situation where she had the government behind her, she still decided to resign. He didn’t just take one for the team, he took one for the country. Erna would have been behind her, Jensen writes.
It was Listhaug’s political opponents who “had made the connection with Utøya, Sylvi had never thought in those terms,” according to Jensen. She believes that “says a lot about her qualities” that she has resigned from the minister of state to prevent the prime minister from finding herself in a difficult situation.
Sylvi’s conclusion was tough and courageous, but it was also the start of her even stronger position in the match. Honestly, it would not have been good for the country if the government threw out the cards because of a Facebook post, believes Siv Jensen.
He talks about the uncertainty of assuming the leadership role from Carl I. Hagen.
“When I took over as party leader after almost three decades with Carl, it was with a bit of uncertainty. Could the party founder keep his fingers off the plate? Collaboration for the first few months went politely well. But I finally realized that the fear was real: Carl didn’t want to let go. ”
So opens the “Carl and Eli” chapter of Siv Jensen’s recent biography.
– Carl should get money
The editor describes it as Jensen’s “ruthless settlement”.
“We came to the conclusion that we had to divert Carl; give him something to keep his fingers in. Thus, we built the Superior Organization of the Progress Party. We didn’t really need that level, but we fixed it, also so that Carl would get money. ”
And she continues:
“Carl has always been concerned about his private finances, perhaps a bit disguised as a politician who has apparently been interested in the cause of the little man.”
Jensen further writes that they did their best to give Hagen the stands he wanted.
“In all my speeches at national conferences, and on other occasions when it was natural, I paid tribute to him. However, Carl and eventually Eli also became more and more petty in their attacks. “
– I cannot speak now, writes Carl I. Hagen in an SMS to Aftenposten.
“No comment!” he follows at 08.23.2020.
Hagen regretted it
Siv Jensen writes that Hagen as early as the summer of 2007, a year after being elected, told her that she did not believe she would meet her goals.
He learned about this from then party secretary Geir Mo. Hagen is said to have said that Frp could have received 30 percent in municipal elections if Jensen had listened.
Hagen is also said to have said he regretted handing over the party leadership position to “a girl like me.” Jensen was only 36 when he took over as party leader after Hagen.
Siv Jensen pays tribute to his predecessor at this time as the leader of the party, describing him as one of the greatest Norwegian politicians of all time.
“But all the craziness he’s been involved in afterwards, and the way he’s conducted himself in public, has ruined his legacy,” Jensen writes.
According to Jensen, it was difficult to assign Hagen heavier tasks and positions because he also wanted to retire and live in Spain for part of the year.
He also criticizes the fact that he ran in both Oslo and Oppland in the 2021 elections. Hagen lost the battle for the nomination for third place on the list in Oslo, but was nominated at the top in Oppland. Hagen is now back at the Storting after being elected to an equalizing term.
– Now Sylvi will have to fight him! Jensen writes.
Solberg “lost his temper”
In the book, she also dedicates space to what happened when the FRP decided to leave the Solberg government in January 2020. She believes Prime Minister Solberg “lost his temper” when the Conservative leader finally got the quadripartite government he wanted.
Instead of the agreement between the four ruling parties leading to new momentum, the exact opposite happened. It was as if many of the members of the government had lost their temper. Perhaps especially Erna. That surprised me. Now she had finally fulfilled her dream of being Prime Minister of the bourgeois majority government that she had tried to establish since the 2013 parliamentary elections. Suddenly, I experienced that Erna no longer had the will to deliver on the big issues. She was just going to steer the ship. It was as if the quadripartite government itself became more important to her than concrete political advances. “
Siv Jensen says that cooperation began to weaken when the Liberal Party entered the government in 2018. He accuses the Liberal Party of a revenge sculpture that was exhausting. Doubts about whether this was a project that Frp should continue on were reinforced when KrF arrived the following year. Jensen writes that he had doubts about whether he should recommend the party to vote for the government platform. It ended with a “yes” after, among other things, soldering the atmosphere with internal critics such as Christian Tybring-Gjedde and Carl I. Hagen.
– warned Erna
In the summer of 2019, the government came close to resigning due to disagreements over tolls. This was resolved with a compromise prepared by Erna Solberg, for which Jensen praises the former head of government.
But beyond fall 2019, he writes that he experiences Solberg having less and less regard for Frp.
– I warned him over and over again and said:
– Now this no longer works. It’s too long between teasers, Jensen writes.
“Completely abandoned” by Per Sandberg
The chapter “The friendship that was destroyed” deals with the collaboration with the ex-MP Per Sandberg.
“Per is and was Per. He would tug at his hip at regular intervals without rinsing it with me, “Jensen says. She describes it as a porcelain putt: easily flammable and with a short wick.
In the summer of 2018, Erna Solberg said that she “had completely given up and told him that Per had traveled to Iran” with his new girlfriend, Bahareh Letnes. Solberg asked Jensen to find out what was going on every day.
– Obviously he was very much in love and could not clearly see what situation he and the government were in, he says.
Today they have no contact. In a way, it’s sad, says Jensen.
– I loved him. But Per has made a lot of stupid decisions. He has broken with Frp and has joined a new party. It has not been natural for me to try to maintain close contact after the breach of trust, Jensen writes.