Europe

New Defense Minister already firing

News Analysis: On Tuesday, a former small town mayor with little international experience was appointed as the new Norwegian Defense Minister. The peasant-friendly center party Bjorn Allildo Gram faced many tough questions at a press conference. There was also crude sexual harassment against the former leader of his party seven years ago.

Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre (center) will hold another last-minute press conference on Tuesday, with Bjorn Arild Gram (left) as the new Norwegian defense minister and Sigbjorn Jersvik (right) as the local government. I had to announce that I had appointed the Minister. .. Photo: Statsministerens kontor

Gram seems an unlikely choice for Norwegian Labor Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre. His political career is rooted in diplomatic and international affairs. However, Stole probably had little choice on this issue. Defense Minister Odd Roger Enoxen, also from the Center Party, had to resign shyly. This weekend after the newspaper VG When he was 50, he reported on a long out-of-marriage negotiation between a teenager and a former left central government minister. Enoxen was also the subject of recent complaints about the sexual harassment of a center party colleague 20 years ago. He had to resign on Saturday, Only one day after submitting a major plan to build Norway’s terribly inadequate defenses..

Therefore, during the war with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, Stowe immediately needed a new defense minister. Norway’s major security concerns And other parts of Europe. Norway is terribly upset by whether one of its neighbors (Russia) can or can invade another neighbor (Ukraine).

Støre also suddenly needed a new defense minister Just as Norway’s week-long Easter holiday has begun. His center party partner in his minority government coalition insisted on sticking to the spot. After that, the center had to come up with a new ministerial candidate for an important defense post.

They settled in Gram three days later as one of the most experienced politicians. Gram, 49, was already the Minister of Government in charge of the Norwegian local government, and he led the large national organization KS on behalf of the local government. (Kommuner) In their role as employers. Prior to that, he was Mayor of Steinkjær in Trondelag from 2007 to 2020. He has represented the Trondelag Center Party in various positions since 1995.

But there was another big challenge. In addition to Gram’s lack of international and defensive experience: 2018, Gram has a weekend hytte (Holiday cabin) Together.One of the men who has never been to take responsibility during the party that weekend I sent an obscene text message to LivSigne Navarsete, the current leader of the party at the time... It is widely regarded as shocking evidence of sexism and harassment in the highest levels of political parties, and has come just as the “Me Too” movement is sweeping the world.

Gram has insisted that he hasn’t sent a message all the time. The owner of the cell phone that was sending it also complained of innocence. No man was involved, including Ora Borten Moe, deputy leader of the Center Party. Admitted to be the criminal.. Moe does not have a college degree, but is currently the Minister of the Stole administration, responsible for research and higher education.

Bjorn Allildo Gram was part of a group of eight center-party men who gathered in Height in 2018, one of whom sent an obscene message to his leader. Gram still claims that it wasn’t him in the accusations of the “bad boy” culture within the party.Photo: Comunale

party Eventually let all eight go without punishmentClaims that the investigation of the ugly case did not identify the guilty party. After the center’s now shameful former minister, Enoxen, got into trouble, it became clear that the party had only one man to handle sexual harassment complaints, and at least one woman would participate in future investigations. I was asked.newspaper Dagsavisen According to what was edited on Tuesday, the center party has a subculture of male hegemony that hasn’t shaken yet.

It’s connected to everything Yet another crisis for the Norwegian young labor center government coalition government already in trouble.. Mr. Enoxen’s scandal, which has jumped into polls since claiming 13.5% of the votes in last fall’s elections, could be more harmful to the government than the Center Party. Several recent polls have shown that the Center currently holds less than 7%. Meanwhile, Storre and his Labor Party have lost two ministers in a scandal since January, and political scientist Kim Arne Hammerstad said: Dagsavisen “It leaves the impression of a weak and chaotic government.”

It was also very ironic that former Defense Minister Enoxen had to resign on Saturday. Saturday was the same infamous April 9th ​​when Norway itself was invaded by Nazi Germany in 1940. It is now a well-known slogan in Norway and has since tried to protect itself, especially through NATO membership. Most people agree that the Cold War is back, and it’s colder than ever.

Questions remain as to why Enoxen did not mention the case. He was with a young woman less than half his age, and he never understood why it made him unfit for the Norwegian Minister of Defense. Some security experts claimed on NRK’s ​​national radio Tuesday morning that Enoxen was actually endangering Norway’s national security. They argue that foreign rivals could have been able to resort to blackmail, and that politicians must comply with the same high security clearance regulations as employees in other states.

Currently, Norway has a defense minister. “Bad Boy” Weekend Gathering It ended with the exaggerated sexual harassment of their own leader. Center Party leader Trygve Slagsvold Vedum immediately “became tough” on them, but no one seems to have suffered long-term damage or punishment.

Asked at a press conference on Tuesday if he was suffering from a nasty incident involving Gram four years ago, Stole said he was probably bothering him with something more important. He said the center “handled the case thoroughly” long before the government was established. Therefore, I have no reason to doubt Gram’s integrity. “

Mr. Storre also said he was looking for “a wise and experienced leader who could get into this job immediately (as Defense Minister).” He claimed that Gram had “a solid background and a lot of experience,” and called him “thorough, hardworking, and serious.” Mr. Storre said it was important to be able to rely entirely on his ministers, especially his foreign and defense ministers, during the crisis in Ukraine.

“We have begun a great deal of effort to strengthen our defenses,” Støre added. “It’s needed and more needed than I thought when we took over responsibility (last fall). To do that, we need a defense minister with extensive political experience. Norway now has it. Will get. “

New Government Minister Sigbjørn Gjelsvik Photo: Kommunale departementet

With gram transfer In his new post, Stole also needed to replace him with a new minister in charge of the municipality. The choice was also left to the center party Sigbjørn Gjelsvik. Gjelsvik represented Akershus as a member of parliament where he was a member of the Finance Commission. Currently, 48-year-old Gjelsvik is responsible for providing state funding to local governments and overseeing how local governments work with the state.

“He will continue to work on new proposals for the government’s district policy launched by Bjorn Allildo (Gram),” said Storre. He claimed that Gjelsvik was “all qualified” for the ministerial position.

The sudden change in Støre’s Cabinet prompted the need for a temporary State Council at the Royal Palace on Tuesday. Because the monarch or regent must approve the appointment of such a high level government. Harald V had to suspend the Easter holiday week to preside over the meeting because his son, Prince Haakon, had an official visit to Svalbard. “I’m very happy about how this worked, and that the king approved it,” said Storre.

Meanwhile, Gram vowed that he and his party were keen to have a “strong defense.” Of course, we develop our work and cooperation with our allies. “

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund

https://www.newsinenglish.no/2022/04/12/new-defense-minister-already-under-fire/ New Defense Minister already firing

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