|Power struggle broke out after Oslo's mayor resigned|
| [31.08.2007, 12:30am, Fri. GMT]|
|No sooner had Oslo Mayor Per Ditlev-Simonsen said he'd resign than his would-be successors started jockeying for position. The non-socialist parties running city government, however, ultimately settled the matter in favour of Oslo's vice-mayor. Ditlev-Simonsen resigned under pressure after admitting late last week that he'd failed to report personal funds held in a secret Swiss bank account to Norwegian tax authorities. Such tax evasion, even for a relatively minor amount, is politically fatal in Norway, and even the leadership of Ditlev-Simonsen's own party, the Conservaties, worried it would ruin their chances at the voting booth during local elections on September 10.Ditlev-Simonsen relinquished his official duties at noon on Thursday, just weeks before his term would have run out anyway following the upcoming local elections.|
Oslo's vice mayor, Svenn Kristiansen of the Progress Party, was poised to take over. The Progress Party has been part of a non-socialist coalition leading city politics for the past four years.
On Thursday morning, however, the Oslo Conservatives' candidate for mayor, Fabian Stang, said he "found it natural" to take over instead as mayor when Ditlev-Simonsen quit.
Stang, an attorney who's perhaps best-known for being the son of actress Wenche Foss, claimed there was an agreement among the parties that the Conservatives would hold sway over the mayor's seat.
This surprised Kristiansen and his fellow Progress Party members, since the vice-mayor normally takes over for the mayor. Kristiansen didn't agree that the agreement among the non-socialist parties gave the mayor’s job to the Conservatives.
The ruling parties involved met Thursday morning in an effort to sort out the conflict, and decided early Thursday afternoon that Kristiansen, not Stang, should succeed Ditlev-Simonsen as mayor of Oslo. Stang wound up as vice-mayor.
Kristiansen's Progress Party, meanwhile, emerged Thursday as Norway's most popular in yet another public opinion poll.
Aftenposten English Web Desk