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From NATO Opponent to NATO Chief: Norwegian ex-PM to be Next NATO Secretary General

Sources very close to the appoinment process confirm Norwegian daily Aftenposten that Stoltenberg will become the next NATO Secretary General. The process of finding a replacement for Anders Fogh Rasmussen is in its final stage, and both British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande have now declared their support for Stoltenberg’s candidacy.

Previously, both the U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel had supported Stoltenberg for the job. This means that the four most powerful NATO countries are now behind the Norwegian candidate.

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The process is not yet formally completed, and unforeseen events could in theory prevent the Norwegian candidate. But those following the process do not see any hindarance for Jens Stoltenberg to be NATO’s 13th Secretary General, reports the newspaper.

Stoltenberg, as a socialist politician, is known with his NATO-resistance in mid-1980s. When Jens Stoltenberg was forthcoming AUF leader in 1985, he had resisted against Norway’s NATO accession.

– AUF goal is to dismantle the blocks and Norwegian withdrawal from alliance, Stoltenberg had said. 

Afterward, he had said that they recognized that Norway is likely to be a member of NATO in the coming years. Therefore, they should impose requirements on Norway to fight for nuclear-free zones and freeze nuclear arsenals in the alliance. Also Dagsavisens wrote he has changed his position for NATO membership after he became the leader of the Youth branch of his party two years later. 

Stoltenberg or other in Labor Party did not provide any confirmation or denial of Aftenposten’s claims proposed on Sunday night. 

If Stoltenberg retires on Tuesday, the national board will hold an extraordinary national congress. Then Jonas Gahr Støre, former Foreign Minster and health Minister, is favorite to take over the leadership of the party from Stoltenberg.

About stoltenberg

Jens Stoltenberg (born 16 March 1959) is a Norwegian politician who was Prime Minister of Norway from 2000 to 2001 and again from 2005 to 2013. He has been leader of the Norwegian Labour Party since 2002. He is leader and parliamentary leader of the Labour Party, and a UN special envoy on climate change. Stoltenberg has had a number of international assignments. These include chairing the UN High-Level Panel on System Wide Coherence and the High-Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing.

First elected to Parliament in 1993 for the Oslo constituency, Stoltenberg served as State Secretary in the Ministry of the Environment from 1990 to 1991 and as Minister of Industry from 1993 to 1996 in the Third Brundtland Cabinet, respectively. Following the resignation of Brundtland in 1996, Thorbjørn Jagland was elected leader of the Labour Party and became Prime Minister, while Stoltenberg was appointed Minister of Finance, an office he held until 17 October 1997 when Jagland and the entire government resigned. While in parliamentary opposition, Stoltenberg served in the standing committees on energy affairs. Following a motion of confidence against the First Bondevik Cabinet, Stoltenberg was appointed Prime Minister on 3 March 2000, despite being deputy leader of the party, and not the party leader.

After poor results in the 2001 parliamentary election, and the subsequent fall of his government on 19 October of that same year, Stoltenberg successfully challenged Thorbjørn Jagland for the party leadership in 2002, and led the party to victory in the 2005 election by forming a Red-Green coalition government with the Centre Party (Sp) and the Socialist Left Party (SV), taking office on 17 October 2005. He was re-elected in 2009 for a second term as Prime Minister, but lost the election for a third term in 2013. He submitted his resignation on 14 October 2013 and left office two days later.

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