On Wednesday, the first volume of Thorbjørn Jagland’s autobiography “You will own it yourself” will be published.
There, the former Labor leader and prime minister talks about the bad relationship with his successor Jens Stoltenberg.
“There have been many battles over the years over who should be the party’s leaders. But it has always been decided with the help of a nomination committee that presented its recommendation to the national assembly. Here, someone – in an apartment on Bislett – had appointed himself as a nomination committee and started the work of changing leader anonymously with the help of the press, “Jagland writes in the book that TV 2 quotes from.
In Stoltenberg’s biography from 2016, he admits that he worked systematically and held secret meetings to squeeze out Jagland.
– It was painful for Thorbjørn Jagland. It hurt me. It hurt the party, Stoltenberg admitted afterwards.
– Hit my head like a bomb
Jagland was then in Strasbourg, and to NRK he says that he was surprised that Stoltenberg knew that his employees had contact with the press without stopping them.
In the book that will be published tomorrow, Jagland writes:
“Until this evening in Strasbourg, when I read what Jens had written, I had thought I was exposed to a press campaign. I had been reluctant to believe what was being said, that people in the inner circles almost daily tried to get the press to convey negative messages about me. Now I saw that it was true. The people were mentioned by Jens himself. The sentences “I knew they were working for my candidacy and that they were among the media’s anonymous sources who argued for a change of leadership… I did not stop them” hit me in the head like a bomb “, writes Jagland.
Jens Stoltenberg does not wish to comment on Jagland’s book beyond what has been communicated via the press contact:
– Jens Stoltenberg told his version of his time as a Norwegian politician and prime minister in his autobiography. He has nothing to add beyond this, Sissel Kruse Larsen, communications consultant for Jens Stoltenberg, informs NRK.
The conflict peaked
– I have waited for 20 years to tell my story, because I have had all these high positions. I did not think it was appropriate, says Thorbjørn Jagland (69) to NRK.
– But now I’m free to tell. It has been a relief, he adds.
According to Jagland, the first book is about the lion’s origin, family and how he saw “ordinary workers used their ballot papers to gain power”.
– It has become my story about how I think the Labor Party has managed these ballots over the years, says Jagland.
The first book ends in the turbulent year 2002. Then the party conflict with Jens Stoltenberg peaked.
Surprised to become Prime Minister
When the then Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland surprisingly announced his resignation in 1996, it also came as a surprise to Jagland, who was appointed the country’s new prime minister.
Jagland has subsequently said that he had no wish for Brundtland to resign or to take over for the national mother.
He was only prime minister for one year. During the period, Jagland faced a lot of opposition as the head of government. Several of the ministers resigned after a short time:
- Minister of Planning Terje Rød-Larsen had to resign after revelations about stock trading after just over a month.
- Grete Faremo resigned as Minister of Petroleum and Energy due to the surveillance case against Berge Furre and the Lund report.
- Minister of Justice Anne Holt resigned due to illness after just over two months. Subsequent Minister of Justice Gerd-Liv Valla appointed the period of Jagland’s government.
Jagland was also ridiculed for his visions of “Det norske hus”, and his failed ultimatum to get a support of 36.9 during the election in 1997.
Election turnout ended at 35 percent. Jagland resigned as Prime Minister on October 17, 1997.
Annoying leadership battle in the Labor Party
The internal power struggle in the party against Jens Stoltenberg started already in the 1990s when Brundtland said she wanted to resign as party leader.
The Labor Party was divided on the question of who should take over. In the end, Stoltenberg withdrew his candidacy and Jagland ruled the party for ten years. He was controversial internally.
In 2002, Jagland resigned as Labor leader and prime ministerial candidate. Jens Stoltenberg took over.
Out of Norwegian politics
On January 5, 2002, in the midst of the conflict with Stoltenberg, Jagland ended up in hospital after a malaise.
While the Labor leader was admitted to Rikshospitalet, the press was outside. That was when Bård Tufte Johansen in “Åpen Post” put on a yellow chicken costume and danced around behind TV 2’s reporter in the middle of a live broadcast.
The stunt received enormous attention. Johansen later apologized for the uproar in an open letter.
In 2005, Jagland became President of the Storting. Three years later, it became public knowledge that he did not stand for re-election to the Storting. Jagland justified this by saying that he was a candidate for the job of Secretary General of the Council of Europe. He got the job in 2009.
In the same year, he also became chairman of the Nobel Committee, until 2015.
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