Jonas Gahr Store, Labour's Rich Man Tackling Norway's Inequalities
Sumaira FH 3 days ago Tue 14th September 2021 | 01:30 AM
Oslo, Sept 13 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 14th Sep, 2021 ) :Jonas Gahr Store led a campaign focused on "ordinary people", but the man set to become Norway's new prime minister is a multimillionaire who at first glance doesn't have much in common with the average Norwegian.
After first estimates showed the leftwing opposition winning Monday's legislative elections, the dapper 61-year-old is expected to head a government whose parliamentary majority will be determined by negotiations with various parties in the days and weeks ahead.
Store campaigned against social inequalities in wealthy Norway, one of the most egalitarian countries in the OECD but which saw the number of billionaires more than double under the outgoing centre-right government.
"Now it's the turn of the ordinary people," he hammered throughout the campaign.
"My finances are not ordinary, but many things about me are," he told AFP.
- The heir - Married and the father of three, Store is an heir in several senses of the word.
He's also a political heir, walking in the footsteps of his friend and mentor, former prime minister Jens Stoltenberg.
Well, sort of natural. His arrival at the head of the party that traditionally represents workers did not sit very well with everybody.
His stellar education -- Sciences Po in Paris, a brief stint at the London school of Economics and a research position at Harvard Law School -- his millions, his technocrat elegance, and the fact that he speaks French all give him an elitist air that rubs some Norwegians the wrong way, especially those in the left-wing of his party.
As an editorialist once put it, Store has had to "climb the social ladder in reverse".
The son of a shipbroker and a librarian, he takes care to fly the Norwegian flag for the international workers day on May 1, after being criticised for not doing so.
"He's a political leader who people sometimes make fun of, an intellectual seen as being a little out of place in the Labour Party but he's done well in this campaign," political analyst Johannes Bergh said before the vote.
- 'Super-Jonas' - Almost everyone acknowledges his refined eloquence -- though while some say it as a compliment others claim he uses it as a weapon to create ambiguity.
"Jonas is an extraordinary person," Stoltenberg said when he handed over the reins of the party leadership to him.
"He knows a lot and has a huge workload capacity, which he combines with the gift of making the people around him happy." Fresh out of university, Store went to work for the "mother of the nation" Gro Harlem Brundtland as her advisor when she was prime minister and then head of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Working at the foreign ministry after a brief stint as the head of the Norwegian Red Cross, he earned the nickname "Super-Jonas" for all of his successes, though he has said he doesn't really like the moniker.
Having made the Arctic one of his political priorities, he fostered closer ties with neighbouring Russia.
In 2010, the two resolved a longstanding dispute over maritime borders, thereby opening up new waters in the Barents Sea to oil prospecting.
Store's period as foreign minister was also one of drama.
Store had visited the island the day before.