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Carl I. Hagen has in recent years again marked itself strongly in Frp. As a deputy to the Storting, with fairly regular attendance, he has often stood in clear opposition to the line from the party leadership.
At the national meeting before the local elections last year, he came up with a bench proposal to spend NOK 100 billion on tolls, which immediately gained a majority. A clearly annoyed Siv Jensen and a hesitant party leadership remained seated, while the hall rose to give standing ovations.
Saturday is the national meeting again. What can he find this time? Pretty much, actually. For party leader Siv Jensen, the old party owner must increasingly appear as a weed in the garden.
I love biological diversity, but in Frp, as is well known, it is a little different. There you tend to weed in the beds when it gets too messy.
The last few weeks have The 76-year-old intensified the activity. He will be elected to the Storting from both Oslo and Oppland, and has come up with two controversial proposals in that connection. He wants immigrants to be assimilated, and that the FRP must reject the “climate hysteria”. Both parts have been rejected in cash by the party’s leadership, by deputy leader Terje Søviknes.
In a panel debate last week in the University’s Hall in Oslo, he reinforced the impression of himself as a very active solo player, or should we say faction leader, in the party.
The party has recently repeated its rule of thumb from 2005, not to support a government of which they are not a part. But since the party is now actually doing just that, Hagen was asked from the stage what the party was now.
“Yes, I wonder,” was his reply.
It does not come from a grand old man, a political retiree. Hagen was late for the debate because he was busy in a group meeting with Frp in the Storting.
Hagen followed up by outlining how the negotiations on the state budget could very easily end in a breach, how it could happen, what could be the aftermath, and which government we would eventually be able to sit with after Erna Solberg has had to ask a cabinet question such as FRP will not support: Labor, Social Democrats and KrF.
This is Hagen in known style. Norwegian politics’ best so-called game theorist, ie with the ability to see more features in the future, also based on what the probable reaction from other parties will be.
Anyone who believes that Hagen is a rattling survivor from the past is wrong. You can agree or disagree with his policy, but as a political actor he is completely on top. He is still a crystal clear analyst in a polite conversation in the University’s Hall, in a panel with Kjell Magne Bondevik, Anne Enger and others. which was gathered to celebrate 75 years of election research. At the same time, he comes up with constantly new, controversial, pointed messages in the media. Another came on Wednesday afternoon: Hijab on children is a failure of care according to children’s legislation, and should lead to us implementing measures, Hagen told this newspaper.
My assessment is that Hagen must appear life-threatening to Siv Jensen. And what did Carl I. Hagen do with people like himself in the old days? He took steps to borrow his own words. As in all other games, there are wing fights, and so did Hagen. When they too openly and over time challenged the course and leadership of the party, he nevertheless made a short process. He made sure they were excluded. Hagen tells in detail about this in his autobiography from 2007.
What is it that makes Hagen dangerous for Siv Jensen? He wants another place, he wants to force a settlement with the Conservatives and Erna Solberg. He is also more extreme politically. Both make it more difficult for Siv Jensen to deal with the internal contradictions in the Progress Party. Siv Jensen has an interest in keeping the alliance with Erna, and thus becoming the preferred government partner after the election next year.
The garden can ruin for her. He can put the party on a collision course with the government and the Conservatives, and he can decide to do so with bench proposals already at the national meeting this weekend.
Can Siv get him excluded? Carl I. Hagen has built up the party. It takes a lot for the party to pull him out. Hagen knows this, and thus he can sail up as Norwegian politics’ sharpest and most exposed internal troublemaker, with a permanent seat in the Storting until he turns 80 years old.