Siv Jensen Re-elected

As expected, there were no opposing candidates for leadership. During the 39 Annual congress of the party, three new members were also elected for the Progress Party’s central executive committee. The new members are Anders Anundsen, Kari K. Kjos and Tom Cato Karlsen.

About Siv Jensen

Siv Jensen (born 1 June 1969) is a Norwegian conservative-liberal politician, and the current leader of the Progress Party. She was the Progress Party’s candidate for Prime Minister in the 2009 parliamentary election.

Jensen was born in the capital city of Oslo, Norway. While she holds that her neighbourhood was a nice place to grow up, her home was the scene of numerous burglaries. Her parents where divorced around 1980, and her father soon moved to Sweden. Her mother was for a short while active in the Ullern Progress Party, until finding out that politics was “not her thing”. Besides three half-sisters, she has one younger brother and one younger sister, Nina Jensen, a noted leader for the Norwegian WWF. Her great-grandmother was the early feminist Betzy Kjelsberg. Jensen is educated from the Norwegian School of Economics. 

Since becoming chairman of the party in 2006, the Progress Party even became the largest party in Norway in many opinion polls, led November 2006 opinion polls with a support of 32,9% of respondents, and continued to poll above 25 percent during the following years. With the recent popular support, Jensen has managed to increase the party’s appeal to voters and has built bridges to liberal-conservative parties, such as the Conservative Party, the party likely to join the Progress Party in an eventual government.

About FrP

The Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet) is described as conservative and right-wing populist. Ever since its foundation, other parties have consistently refused the Progress Party’s efforts to join any governing coalition at the state level. The reasons have mainly included concerns about the party’s alleged position on immigration issues. From the second half of the 1980s the economic and welfare aspects of immigration policy were mainly a focus of Progress Party criticism, including the strains placed by immigration on the welfare state. During the 1990s the party shifted to focus more on cultural and ethnic issues and conflicts. In 1993, it was the first party in Norway to use the notion of “integration politics” in its party programme.

A poll conducted by Utrop in August 2009 showed that 10% of immigrants in Norway would vote for the Progress Party, only beaten by the Labor Party (38% and 56% respectively), when asked. More specifically, this constituted 9% of both African and Eastern European immigrants, 22% of Western European immigrants and 3% of Asian immigrants. Thus, it was above all immigrants from Western countries that contributed to the Progress Party, whereas those from the Middle East and Asia were very unlikely to support it; however, many immigrants from Africa also voted for the Progress Party. Recently people of immigrant background are also increasingly active in the party, most notably Iranian-Norwegian Deputy Member of Parliament Mazyar Keshvari and Indian-Norwegian youth politician Himanshu Gulati.

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