Crisis meetings in progress in Labour

Labour Crisis Hans Kristian AmundsenSeveral in Labour are highly critical of Hans Kristian Amundsen and thinks he must go. Photo: Solum, Stian Lysberg,

Crisis meetings in progress in Labour

The Labour tops are gathered at Gardermoen to discuss the handling of the Giske case and other warnings regarding sexual harassment. The conflicts are lined up during Monday’s crisis meetings.


A Deputy Leader’s departure, key figures that are not speaking to each other and a party in disruptive conflict about the handling of warning cases are prominent issues. When Labour leader Jonas Gahr Støre after lunch fronts of the extraordinary country council meeting, his speech could well be among the most important he has ever held in a party context.

The prelude to Monday’s central committee meeting and subsequent country meeting is dramatic. On Sunday, Labours Secretariat Leader, Hans Kristian Amundsen, in Parliament   announced his resignation after a long lasting conflict with party secretary Kjersti Stenseng. Through that, the public gained insight into what appears to be a rift between the Labour staff in the Parliament and the Party office at Youngstorget.

Wise decision

Monday morning, Støre tells NRK that Amundsen had a conversation with him before the decision was made and that he thinks it is a “wise decision”.

-I said it was a wise decision, a decision I and he had discussed before hand. He made the decision himself, and I support it, Støre says to NRK’s Political Quarter.

Støre rejected that he had asked Amundsen to resign, but says that the situation was unsolvable.

– I notice that key players do not communicate, we can not live with that, says Støre.

Could not be together

According to Amundsen, the conflict between him and Stenseng has been so bad that the two could not attend the same meetings.

– It’s not possible to make sure that we progress if the party secretary and I can not at tend the same meetings, Amundsen wrote in a post in North Norwegian debate (Nordnorsk debatt) after the Labour Party’s press release regarding his resignation was issued on Sunday.

On his way to the central committee meeting at a conference hotel in Gardermoen on Monday, Labour’s party secretary, Kjersti Stenseng, would not comment on Amundsen’s departure, other than wishing him good luck.

Giske’s future

The extent to which the former deputy leader Trond Giske will retain his seat in the central committee is one of the questions that the national convention is expected to consider on Monday.

The delegates from Giske’s home county, Trøndelag, are among those who believe that he should be allowed to continue in the central committee, referring to the party’s rules and regulations.

Others argue that when the party does not trust Giske as deputy, it is unnatural to express trust in him as a central committee member. Labor leader, Jonas Gahr Støre, has suggested that he believes Giske can not continue in the central committee.

The question of whether Labor will call for extraordinary national meeting later this spring, where other people can be chosen for the party’s leadership, may also be on the agenda. But it seems unlikely that Labour  will do so, even though there are critical voices towards Hadia Tajik as well as party secretary Kjersti Stenseng.

Bad blood

At the moment, the Labour Party looks like a battlefield, where parties and colleagues stand against each other in the view on the handling of the warning cases. In particular, it is the treatment of Trond Giske that divides the party tops.

Last week, the party leadership – in practical terms Støre and Stenseng – concluded that, through his behaviour, Giske has violated the ethical code of the party. The former deputy leader has through his lawyers criticized the process and stated that he has not had the opportunity to tell his version regarding the allegations against him.

– I have promised a thorough process in our party organization. We are not a court, no tribunal. We have had a thorough review and have had enough information to conclude. I take full responsibility for the decision taken last week, Støre tells NRK on Monday. 

Støre on Amundsen’s resignation: – A wise decision

Labour leader Jonas Gahr Støre had a conversation with Hans Kristian Amundsen before Amundsen chose to resign. “A wise decision,” says Støre to NRK.

Amundsen, secretary general for the Labour Party in the Parliament since 2013, on Sunday resigned after a long lasting conflict with the party secretary, Kjersti Stenseng.

Monday morning, Støre says to NRK that Amundsen had a conversation with him before the decision was made and that he thinks it was a “wise decision”.

– I said it was a wise decision, a decision we have talked about. He made the decision, and I support that, Støre says to NRK on Monday


Støre rejects that he has asked Amundsen to resign, but that the situation was unsolvable.

According to Amundsen, the conflict between him and Stenseng has been so bad that the two could not attend the same meetings.

– I notice that key people do not speak to each other; we can not live with that, Støre states. He expressed a wish to return to political work after all the conflicts and warning cases that have overshadowed everything else in recent months.

– We have a lot of things going on in this party, and we will promote that, he tells NRK.

Giske has had his say so

Støre also was questioned about the latest developments regarding the treatment of Trond Giske and the warning cases against him.

Støre denied once again that Trond Giske had not been allowed to speak up in connection with the warning cases regarding him that Labour has handled. Among other things, Giske’s lawyers claims that they possess physical evidence that refutes some of the warnings.

– If there is information regarding some of these matters, please provide them, but Giske has said that he is sorry to several of the whistle blowers , therefore I do not think the disagreement runs very deep, Støre says


In Aftenposten on Monday, three of the whistle blowers informed about the burden and media pressure they had been exposed to afters leaks regarding their identity.

– This has not come from us who have handled the cases, we practice 100 per cent confidentiality, Støre stresses. He feels that the current situation with pressure from traditional media and social media does not make it easy to keep such things hidden from the public.

On Monday, the Labour Party holds both a central committee and extraordinary country council meeting at Gardermoen. One of the points that will be prominent is whether Trond Giske can continue in the central committee or not, something that Støre has previously rejected. He does not want to comment on this further before the central committee meeting.

Facts – This is how the Labour Party is organized

  • The party’s primary body is the national convention that is held every second years. The central committee, the national committee and the party’s top management are elected, and the party’s policy is defined.
  • The next ordinary national meeting will be held in spring 2019. However, the question of the need for an extraordinary country meeting in the wake of the Giske case and all the noise of the party organization is expected to become a theme during Monday’s extraordinary national committee gathering at Gardermoen.
  • Between National conventions, the national committee is the party’s primary body. The National committee consists of the central committee, two representatives from all counties that include the county leader, two representatives from the youth party AUF, as well as a representative from the party’s Sami group. The national committee meets two to four times every year.
  • The Central Committee is responsible for implementing the decisions of the country meetings and heading the party between the country councils. It consists of the party leader, deputy chairpersons, party secretary and leader of the party’s women’s network and 16 other elected members. In addition, the AUF leader participates with all rights.
  • The Party Office at Youngstorget in Oslo is headed by the party secretary, p.t. Kjersti Stenseng, and is responsible for the daily operation of the party. The party secretary is elected by the national assembly and is part of the Labour leadership. The party has a staff of around 30 employees, organized in a political part and an administrative part.
  • After the election of 2017, Labour’s parliamentary group consists of 49 elected representatives. They are headed by a parliamentary secretariat. Hans Kristian Amundsen resigned as secretary leader on Sunday after long lasting conflict with party secretary Kjersti Stenseng and the party office at Youngstorget.
  • The 49 parliamentary representatives are supported by around 30 employees, political advisors and a staff of 10 in administrative roles.


© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today

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