The Liberals gather after turbulent days

Grande Raja Sick Leave turbulentHarsh words about Abid Q. Raja from Liberal Leader Trine Skei Grande. Photo:

The Liberals huddle at the bottom after a turbulent period

The leader of the Liberals (Venstre), Trine Skei Grande accepts the responsibility for the recent turbulence in the party but receives a kick in the butt from another weak poll as she gathers the troops.


– The last few days have been characterised by everything but politics. I have to acknowledge responsibility for that. Now I am very pleased that Abid [Raja] has accepted my apology and that we have come to terms, Grande says to her party colleagues at the party’s National Committee meeting on Saturday.

– Now we can return to what is the concern of all assembled here, namely the Liberals policy, the ideas of the Liberals and, not least, the impact of the Liberals, the Party Leader highlights.

Member of Parliament for the Liberals, Abid Q. Raja, who attended Saturday’s meeting, has now squared up with Grande, who – in the midst of the budget process in the Norwegian Parliament – scolded him over the phone in front of members from other parties.

– Now Trine has regretted that conversation. She has apologised both for what she said and to whom she said it [MP for the Conservatives, Aasheim, on speakerphone]. I take it to heart and accept the apology fully, Raja told NTB on Thursday.

To emphasise yet again that the two have let bygones be bygones the case, Grande on Saturday comments this on the budget process:- Just so everyone is aware: Yes, I believe that Abid did a great job negotiating the deal it in the Parliament.

Voter trouble

The episode involving Grande and Raja is not the biggest problem facing the Liberals. Barely one year after the party entered the Solberg Government, there is no increase in voter support.

In the last five months, the Liberals is on average below the barrier threshold, according to the site poll of polls. On Saturday, the party receives support from 3.8 per cent of the respondents in a survey made by Norfakta for the newspapers Nationen and Klassekampen.

– We are unable to show how the Liberals make a difference. The solution is to show people how to put together a climate policy that both provides growth and creates jobs, Grande tells NTB.

Raja comes up with the following analysis:

– First of all, we must be clear about where we are in political terms. Secondly, we must communicate what we want politically. Thirdly, we have to get across what we achieve, he lists up, adding that the party must now find out why it has not achieved that lately.

– We must strengthen the communication externally and be better at highlighting the Liberals policy externally. The task applies to the local teams, those of us in the Parliament and the Government.

Will not touch abortion

The Government parties (Conservatives, Progress Party and Liberals) are currently in talks with the Christian Democrats (KrF) about a possible expansion of the Solberg led Government. Actual negotiations are expected early next year.

– It is not just the Christian Democrats’ (KrF) turn to negotiate. The Liberals will do so as well. Even though we are proud of what we achieved at Jeløya, that agreement has existed for almost a year already, Grande states.

She, however, draws a red line: In the abortion question, the Liberals will never be a part of anything that weakens women’s rights.

– Abortion is a difficult matter. It has always been so between us and the Christian Democrats. For us, women’s freedom of choice is fundamental. I believe this will be a demanding process.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg (Conservatives) opened this autumn for negotiations of parts of the Abortion Act. The message was welcomed by KrF, but meets opposition from the Liberals (Venstre), the Progress Party (Frp) and even the Conservatives (Høyre).

The Liberals’ National Assembly treats a proposal from Oslo Venstre this weekend to say no to changes to the Abortion Act.

The proposal states that the Liberals will protect the right to a self-determined abortion until the twelfth week and «Consider extension to the sixteenth or eighteenth week of pregnancy». It also states that the Liberals does not want to amend paragraph 2c of the Abortion Act regarding foetuses with a high risk of serious defects (such as Down Syndrome).


© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today