The selection committee has given its recommendation today. These are the main results:
- Four members of the selection committee want Lars Haltbrecken, the longtime president of the Nature Conservancy, to be the new vice president.
- But three members want Marion Hussain from Oslo as the new vice president.
- The unanimous electoral committee is in favor of Kirsty Bergstow as the new SV leader.
- There is also consensus that Torgeir Knag Fylkesnes should be allowed to continue as the second of the two vice-presidents.
All four sit in the Storting today for SV.
So, it’s up to the 17-19 National Assembly. March to decide whether Haltbrake or Hussain will get the new vice-chairmanship.
– We have many good candidates to become Vice President. “We have two good candidates, both of whom will do well as vice president of SV,” says Paul Julius Schogold, chairman of the election committee.
He was among the minority who wanted Hussain as the new vice president.
SV leader Audun Lysbakken announced at the national assembly last November that he would not stand for re-election as party leader.
– Haltbracken tells NRK that the reason I am running as a vice-presidential candidate is because I want to help further develop SV as a party that takes the justice and environmental struggle seriously.
Marion Hussain said he was overwhelmed by the confidence of the Election Committee.
– I feel this is an opportunity to show who we are as a party and to show that we take the votes of new voters and members seriously, he says to NRK.
The justification for the majority favoring Haltbrecken in the leadership trio is that he has solid organizational skills and competence, and that he is an important bridge-builder between nature conservation and climate considerations.
A minority who like Hussain say SV needs new voices and new profiles to expand the party and reach out to new voters.
Bergstow is the only candidate for party leader.
– Thanks to the selection committee for their trust. It is with joy, excitement and deep seriousness that I have agreed to take over as the next president of SV.
Red and green
A number of names have been mentioned in the question of who will be the new deputy leader, as current deputy leader Kirsty Bergstow is likely to become party leader.
– With a divided opinion, will we now have a terrible vice-presidential fight?
– No, absolutely not. Marion is also a good candidate, so I think the party has to execute it well, says Haltbrecken.
Many in the SV have named the party’s financial liaison, Kari Elizabeth Caskey, as their favorite to become the new party leader. But before the New Year, Caskey declared himself ineligible for the position.
– Caskey’s supporters fear climate policy will be scaled back under Bergstow’s leadership. Are you ready to take care of that part of SV policy?
– After almost 30 years in the environmental movement, I am for many kinds of “miljo-lars”. Environmental campaigning is something very close to my heart. As Vice President or not, I will continue my strong commitment to the environment, says Haltbrecken.
– Are you more “green” than “red”?
– At least I have worked more with the environment in my life.
At the same time, Haltbrekken emphasizes that the fight against poverty and inequality, as well as caring for nature and reducing emissions from the climate fight, attracted him to SV.
And he denies that the chairman-vice-chairman debate has sparked a fight in SV.
Background of Somalia
Marion Hussain, 36, was born in Somalia and came to Norway at the age of ten. He grew up in Stovner, Oslo.
Hussain was formerly a deputy representative in the Storting, but is now the permanent representative and SV’s spokesperson on health issues. From 2017 to 2021, he also sat on the Central Committee of S.V.
– Why should SV choose you, not Lars Haltbrecken?
– I think SV has a luxury problem between the two of us regarding all the names mentioned. I would live well with Lars in management after the national meeting.
– What divides the two of you politically?
– Hussain says that there are many occasions where we disagree about the details and how quickly things should go, while adding:
– I also think there are many issues on which we mostly agree. Disagreements within a political party are often caricatures.
– Are you mostly “green” or “red”?
– It was red that got me into politics, but I see that it is linked to green. We cannot fight solidarity and inequality without a fair environmental and climate fight.
– You have a background from Somalia, in isolation, is it important for SV to bring someone from your background to the party leadership?
– I have a background from Somalia, but I also have a background where I worked in the welfare state, Hussein says.
– I feel that my experience as a refugee from frontline service was important to my political involvement in SV. It was important to me to expand the party so that people in Krorudalen also feel that they have power and influence in Norwegian politics.
Yes to arms and NATO
NRK asked the two candidates about three of the most debated domestic issues in SV:
Is it OK for Norway to send weapons to Ukraine?
Haltbrekken: Yes. I believe we should support Ukraine in its defense struggle against the brutal invasion from Russia.
Hussain: I doubted it. But over the past year, seeing how arms aid has helped the people of Ukraine, I understand that it was the right decision.
Will SV, along with the party leadership, work with you to withdraw Norway from NATO?
Haltbrecken: I stand by the majority’s position that Norway should not be withdrawn from NATO.
Hussain: I’m not going to argue that Norway should leave NATO, but I’m going to be very critical of NATO.
Should Norway build more offshore wind power?
Haltbrekken: No untouched nature. Wind power plants that we may have in the future are located in industrialized areas near electricity-intensive industries.
Hussain: I agree with Lars’ reasoning here.
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