#Metoo alerts theme at top-level political meeting

Deputy Leader Socialist Party (SV). Kjersti BergstøDeputy Leader of the Socialist Party (SV). Kjersti Bergstø. Photo: SV

#Metoo alerts theme at top-level political meeting

It does not enough that the political parties improve themselves, their task is to improve society, says Kirsti Bergstø (Socialists) after Erna Solberg’s #MeToo meeting in the Parliament (Storting).


– My expectation is that we must discuss political solutions. Sexual harassment is a social problem that requires political action. There is no reason to believe that political parties are worse than the rest of society, says acting leader of the Socialist Party (SV), Kirsti Bergstø.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg had invited the other party leaders and party secretaries on Tuesday to exchange experiences after weeks where warning cases have affected all major political parties.

– I think we have had a reflected discussion regarding the challenges. I actually think that there has been an awakening between the parties about the challenges we face, Solberg states after the meeting.

She says that the parties are now going to exchange experiences about internal guidelines, but not necessarily that all parties should have the same rules and regulations.

Build culture

Solberg points out that both the Conservatives and Labour have assembled people that will submit proposals for clearer rules. She however confirms that it is not necessarily the lack of rules that is the problem, but how they are followed through:

“Yes, and it’s about how you build culture to comply with the rules,” she says, adding that she must create a “repetitive culture” to which new generations of representatives can relate to.

Labour leader, Jonas Gahr Støre, believes the mother parties can learn a lot from the youngsters.

– The youth parties have had a higher awareness of these issues than the parent parties. For Labour , it has been important to pick up those experiences, he says.

He is not very worried about the recruitment to politics.

– Of course, there is reason to worry about it because our mission is also to motivate young people to enter into politics. But I think politics are so exciting – I think it’s so important for young people and people who have experience from life to participate, says Støre.

Must improve society

There seems to be broad consensus that it is important to exchange experiences, have good practices and take care of warners. But SVs Bergstø expects more action from her fellow politicians.

– It’s a good initiative to meet between the parties to see how to handle alerts, but it is not enough.It is not sufficient for the parties to improve themselves. The parties’ task must be to improve society, she says, pointing to that SV has submitted twelve proposals against sexual harassment. Red has also proposed a set of measures.

One of the proposals the Parliament is considering is to allow the new Discrimination Authority to process and impose compensation in cases of sexual harassment, as it has in other cases of harassment and discrimination.

The Parliament has previously instructed the Government to investigate a so-called low-threshold initiative for dealing with such matters.

Solberg says the Conservatives will look into SV’s challenge of doing something “more political”. She also agrees that there is a need for a low-threshold offer for reporting sexual harassment, but it is not clear if the Discrimination Board is be assigned the task.

– Both the red-green government and we made the same assessment of such a low-threshold offer. We said no at that occasion, because these are difficult issues, both related to contradiction and how to make decisions, she says.


© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today