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Jens Stoltenberg

Assumed office 
17 October 2005
Monarch Harald V
Preceded by Kjell Magne Bondevik
In office
3 March 2000 – 19 October 2001
Monarch Harald V
Preceded by Kjell Magne Bondevik
Succeeded by Kjell Magne Bondevik

Born 16 March 1959 (1959-03-16) (age 51)
Oslo, Norway
Political party Norwegian Labour Party
Spouse(s) Ingrid Schulerud
Profession Economist
Religion none; Atheist[1]

About this sound Jens Stoltenberg (born 16 March 1959) is the Prime Minister of Norway. He took office in 2005, having previously served as Prime Minister from 2000 to 2001. He has also been the leader of the Norwegian Labour Party since 2002 and has been a Member of Parliament from Oslo since 1993. He was State Secretary in the Ministry of the Environment from 1990 to 1991, Minister of Industry from 1993 to 1996, and Minister of Finance from 1996 to 1997. He was re-elected Prime Minister in the 2009 parliamentary election.



Early career

From 1979 to 1981 Stoltenberg was a journalist for Arbeiderbladet; between 1985 and 1989, he was the leader of the Workers' Youth League and between 1990 and 1992, leader of the Oslo chapter of the Labour Party.[2]

Minister of Finance

Before becoming Minister of Finance, Stoltenberg was Minister for trade and energy in Gro Harlem Brundtland's cabinet between 1993-1996.[2] In 1996 when Brundtland resigned, Thorbjørn Jagland stepped in for her and became the new Norwegian Prime Minister.[2] In Jagland's government, Stoltenberg became Minister of Finance.[2] On the 29 September 1997, Jagland resigned because he had stated that the cabinet would resign should the party receive less than 36.9% of the popular vote.[3] Labour only received 35.0%, which meant that Jagland was forced to resign, and power was given to the first cabinet of Kjell Magne Bondevik.[4][5] After Jagland's resignation, Stoltenberg served as the of standing committee on oil and energy affairs in the Storting.[2]

AUF membership scandal

The symbol of Jens Stoltenberg's Labour Party: a red rose.

The AUF (Workers' Youth League) membership scandal refers to the police investigation and subsequent court cases in Norway in early 1998 where four members of AUF stood accused of deliberately inflating membership numbers of their organization in order to receive increased government funding.[6] They were eventually found guilty of fraud and handed jail sentences.[6] The unlawful practice of submitting higher membership numbers to city council offices had at the time become an accepted culture in various political youth organizations, and it is believed that the leadership of the parties involved were aware of this practice.[6] Although only four members were prosecuted and jailed, former members of the AUF and by that stage leading politicians got off the hook.[6] Among these were Stoltenberg and former prime minister Jagland.[6]

On 2 March 1995, the Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang (VG) published the story. On 14 March 1995, twelve days later, Stoltenberg and former AUF leader Turid Birkeland admitted that 'advancing' money to pay for membership fees was a common and accepted practice at the time they were involved with the organization.[7] However, on 17 March 1998, Stoltenberg was called in to give testimony in the case.[7] He told the Oslo city court, under oath, that he was unfamiliar with the artificial inflating of membership figures which took place in the AUF.[7] He also told the court that he was unaware of any form of fraud taking place in the organisation under his leadership, and stated that he had never heard of 'advancing' money to pay for memberships until VG broke the story.[7] He also stated that in his opinion it was not necessarily wrong to 'advance' money for members provided that the members in question reimbursed this fee later on.[7]

Stoltenberg was also cross-examined by defense lawyer Tor Erling Staff, who pointed out that membership numbers for the AUF during Stoltenberg's tenure - 11,000 - were too high.[7] According to Staff's calculations such huge membership numbers would mean that the AUF had to recruit several thousand members each year.[7] The following day, March,18, Stoltenberg told the court that the government had accepted non-paying members in youth organizations as normal members for many years, provided that the membership was confirmed by word of mouth by the member in question.[7]

First term

Then Russian President Vladimir Putin with Stoltenberg in New York City, 2000.

In 2000 the first cabinet of Bondevik resigned following a motion of confidence.[8] Stoltenberg's first cabinet governed Norway from 17 March 2000 to 19 October 2001.[8] Stoltenberg was the deputy leader of the labor party while Jagland was the party leader. Instead Jagland was given the post as Foreign Minister. Again, Jagland made national headlines similar to the publicity about "The Norwegian House" and "36.9%", this time for the phrase "Bongo from Congo", originally coined as an internal joke in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the expense of the President of Gabon, Omar Bongo.[9] Stoltenberg's first tenure as Prime Minister (2000–2001) was controversial within his own party, being responsible for reforms and modernisation of the welfare state that included part-privatising several key state-owned services and corporations. In the parliamentary election of 10 September 2001, the party suffered one of its worst results ever, winning only 24% of the vote.

The 2001 election met with instability for the labour party, because of the voters' unhappiness with the lack of nursery schools, retirement homes and a declining standard of public education in Norway.[10] The Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet stated: "We are heading for a political earthquake when the votes are counted tonight, if we believe the opinion polls."[10] In an interview with The Associated Press Jagland stated "It is unstable and unpredictable."[10] After the election in 2001, Stoltenberg and his cabinet were forced to resign, with the labor party suffering from its worst election campaign results since 1924.[11] With the 98% votes taken, the Labour Party only garned 24%, falling from 35%.[11] Jagland, the Labor Party leader, commented on the results saying, "We will have to make a decision about whether to continue in government after we know the full results".[11] After the election Stoltenberg said, "What is clear is that this was a very bad election."[11]

Power struggle

The disastrous results of 2001 were quickly followed by a bitter leadership battle between Jagland and Stoltenberg. In 2002, Jagland was replaced as party leader by Stoltenberg. This did not come as a surprise for many in the Labour Party.[12] However, before any voting took place Jagland relinquished the post and gave it to Stoltenberg.[13] because Jagland had recently been hospitalized due to general health problems,[14] and had moreover felt "responsibility to end this destructive personal strife".[13] The power struggle ended up with Stoltenberg becoming the new labour party leader in Norway.[13]

Second term

Stoltenberg's second cabinet has governed Norway since 17 October 2005. The 2005 parliamentary election saw a vast improvement for Labour, and the party gained a majority in parliament together with the other "Red-Green" parties, the Socialist Left Party and the Centre Party. This paved the way for a historic first in Norway, with Labour joining in a coalition government, the Red-Green Coalition. Stoltenberg became Prime Minister for the second time on 17 October 2005 after a coaltion deal, documented in the First Declaration of Soria Moria, was struck. Since the election Stoltenberg's cabinet has been hit by several scandals, and the Government has been far behind the opposition in most opinion polls, although the gap has narrowed during the economic crisis. However, Mr. Stoltenberg's personal approval ratings have remained higher than those of his cabinet throughout the term.[citation needed] In the general election in 2009 the Red-Green Coalition retained the majority in the parliament and Jens Stoltenberg was able to stay on in office as Prime Minister.[15] They crafted a Second Declaration of Soria Moria.

Personal life


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Stoltenberg grew up in a political family. His father, Thorvald Stoltenberg, is one of the most prominent politicians in Norway and a former Foreign Minister; his mother Karin Stoltenberg was a junior minister. The late Marianne Heiberg, married to former Foreign Minister Johan Jørgen Holst, was his aunt on his mother's side. Stoltenberg is married to the diplomat Ingrid Schulerud and has two children, Axel Stoltenberg and Catharina Stoltenberg.[16] He was raised in the Waldorf Education system as formulated by Rudolf Steiner, and educated at the Oslo katedralskole and the University of Oslo. He likes to spend his summer vacations on the Hvaler Islands in the Oslo fjord. In the winter he is an active cross-country skiier. He has two sisters: Camilla, a medical researcher and administrator who is one year older than he; and Nini who is four years younger. Nini is a recovering heroin addict, and the Norwegian media have covered the family's efforts to cope with this challenge.[17]

The Stoltenberg family emigrated to Norway in the 17th century from the north German village of Stoltenberg in Schleswig-Holstein. The duchies were at that time united with the kingdoms of Denmark and Norway.


  1. ^ Melå, Veronica (14 July 2000). "- Statsministeren må være kristen". VG. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Jens Stoltenberg Biography". Retrieved 2 February 2009. 
  3. ^ Sørebø, Herbjørn (17 February 2000). "Ikkje noko mediemord" (in Norwegian). Dag og Tid. Retrieved 31 March 2008. 
  4. ^ Almendingen, Berit (29 September 1997). "Meddelelse fra statsminister Thorbjørn Jagland om Regjeringens avskjedssøknad" (in Norwegian). Nettavisen. Retrieved 1 February 2009. 
  5. ^ Mary Williams Walsh (Thursday, 16 October 1997 - Page updated at 12:00 AM). "Norway's Problem: Too Much Cash -- Oil Is Flowing And Surplus Is Fat". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2 February 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Arneseth, Andreas (Oppdatert: 5. januar 1998 kl. 12:59). "Alvorlig tiltale om grovt bedrageri" (in Norwegian). Aftenposten. Retrieved 2 February 2009. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h WESTENGEN, Kari (18 March 1998). "Stoltenberg: staten godtok «juks»" (in Norwegian). Dagbladet. Retrieved 2 February 2009. 
  8. ^ a b "Norway's new cabinet named". BBC. Friday, 17 March, 2000, 12:04 GMT. Retrieved 1 February 2009. 
  9. ^ "Jagland omtalte president som Bongo fra Kongo" (in Norwegian). Verdens Gang. 6 February 2001. Retrieved 31 March 2008. 
  10. ^ a b c "Norway set for close polls result". CNN. 10 September 2001 Posted: 2:51 PM EDT (1851 GMT). Retrieved 2 February 2009. 
  11. ^ a b c d "Norway poll sparks power struggle". BBC. Tuesday, 11 September, 2001, 08:49 GMT 09:49 UK. Retrieved 1 February 2009. 
  12. ^ Karlsen, Kirsten (25 March 2001). "Deler makta til 2004" (in Norwegian). Dagbladet. Retrieved 31 March 2008. 
  13. ^ a b c Narum, Håvard (6 April 2002). "Ville kjempet mot Jagland" (in Norwegian). Aftenposten. Retrieved 31 March 2008. 
  14. ^ "Ingen tegn til sykdom" (in Norwegian). NRK. 15 January 2002. Retrieved 31 March 2008. 
  15. ^ "Norway's government is re-elected" (in Norwegian). British Broadcasting Corporation. 15 September 2009. Retrieved 15 September 2009. 
  16. ^ Helljesen, Vilde (14 March 2009). "«Hopalong Cassidy» fyller 50 år ["Hopalong Cassidy" turns 50 years]" (in Norwegian). Oslo, Norway: NRK. Archived from the original on 23 July 2009. Retrieved 23 July 2009. 
  17. ^ "- Hvem i helvete i regjeringen er det som har bestemt det?" (in Norwegian). Dagbladet. 9 April 2008. Retrieved 25 October 2009. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Finn Kristensen
Minister of Trade and Energy of Norway
1993 – 1996
Succeeded by
Grete Knudsen
Party political offices
Preceded by
Egil Knudsen
Leader of the Workers' Youth League
1985 – 1989
Succeeded by
Turid Birkeland
Preceded by
Thorbjørn Jagland
Leader of the Norwegian Labour Party


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Jens Stoltenberg (born 16 March 1959) is the Prime Minister of Norway. He took office in October of 2005; he was previously Prime Minister from 2000 to 2001. He has also been the leader of the Norwegian Labour Party since 2002. He has been a Member of Parliament from Oslo since 1993.


  • We have a high standard of living. ... In Norway, we've tripled our income since 1970. In the rest of western Europe, income has merely doubled.

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