Saviour of KrF brings the bride home

Dagen Vebjørn Selbekk SaviourEditor-in-Chief of Dagen, Vebjørn Selbekk, is best known for his decision to publish the infamous Muhammad cartoons. Photo: Dagen

Saviour of the Christian Democrats (KrF) brings Erna home

The newly appointed Norwegian Minister of Children and Family, Kjell Ingolf Ropstad, shows his neck of the woods to Prime Minister Erna Solberg (Conservatives) on Friday. The battle to be the saviour of the Christan Democrats begins.

The next two and a half years will be a battle for the survival of the Christan Democrats in Norwegian politics, Editor-in-chief of the Christian newspaper Dagen, Vebjørn Selbekk, tells NTB.

He is convinced that Ropstad will be appointed by acclamation as Leader of the Christan Democrats at the National Convention in April.

“It is a very big task that falls on the relatively young shoulders of Kjell Ingolf Ropstad. No Leader of the Christan Democrats in modern times has probably had such a tough management job that Ropstad is now taking on,” Selbekk comments.

“I look forward to bringing the Prime Minister back home to Agder. To Kristiansand, where we will meet the police and the Blue Cross. Then home to Evje and Hornnes, where I will showcase the good leisure facilities for children and youngsters,” Ropstad conveys to NTB.

At a high price

A visit to his parents is also on the program. Ropstad’s father, Bjørn, is active in the local politics in the heartland of the Christian Democrats.

“I expect that the Prime Minister and I will be able to give the primary candidate for the Christan Democrats in Agder some good input for the upcoming election campaign,” the Minister of Children and Family smiles.

For what appears to be as a political eternity ago, Solberg was on a coffee and cakes visit at the parent’s home of former Leader of the Christan Democrats, Knut Arild Hareide, on the Bømlo Island. That seance took place on July 30th, 2017.

Last year, Hareide wanted to fell the Solberg Government – only to be axed by Ropstad and the majority of his party instead.

Not the saviour to all

The Christan Democrats’ divisive choice of the straight and narrow has come at a high price. Several central figures have left the party already, or announce that they will step down: Hareide is history as both party and parliamentary leader. Parliamentary profile, Geir Jørgen Bekkevold, announces that he cannot campaign for this Government, and the Deputy Leader of the youth organization (KrFU), Nikolai Skogan, resigns.

At the same time, the party is for the third time in a row below the barrier limit in the polls, according to the average compiled by poll of polls for January. This does not bide well for the Solberg Government either, as it is dependent on the Christian Democrats.

Regional party

Hareide’s plan was to give the Christan Democrats greater breadth – hoping to attract electoral groups. This did not come to fruition, and several in the party’s “red” camp now fear that the party will be even narrower and more regionally centred.

“I fear that the choice we have taken will strengthen the Christan Democrats in the South-West only and weaken elsewhere in Norway: a step towards becoming a regional party,” the KrFU leader in Akershus, Simen Bondevik wrote in Aftenposten before Christmas.

The selfsame newspaper recently wrote that the Christian Democrats are struggling in Eastern Norway, among other things with finding candidates in a number of their “red” municipalities.

Selbekk is clear on that it was Hareide who made the Christan Democrats into a “Bible-party” in Southern and Western Norway. This caused by the party spiralling downwards on the polls under his leadership.

“I do not buy that it is the choice for the bourgeois side that is determinantal. It is also to what extent the Leader of the Christan Democrats manages to instil enthusiasm for the party’s politics,” he opinionates.

Geographical diversity

The Editor-in-Chief highlights several issues that must be met in order for the Christan Democrats to be able to scrape in above the barriers limit at the election in 2021, thus retaining access to the land of promise:

  • the Christian Democrats’ leadership must also include the red side, which the choice of Dag Dagge Ulstein as the Minister of Development contributes to.
  • The party must take geographical considerations when choosing leaders. County leader of Nordland, Ingelin Noresjø, has signed up as a candidate for the position as 2nd deputy.
  • The Christian Democrats must take ownership of policy areas such as child & family and development policy.

At the same time, Ropstad has had a difficult start, with heated abortion discussions and accusations that he is a religious obscurant. Selbekk believes that the scolding of Ropstad can actually lead to increased sympathy for him.

“Some of the criticisms have gone just a bit too far,” Selbekk believes.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today
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