Jens Stoltenberg, Norway’s ex-prime minister, has been appointed NATO’s next secretary general, replacing Denmark’s Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
Jens Stoltenberg will take over as leader of the 28-nation military alliance in October, when Fogh Rasmussen steps down after a NATO summit in Wales.
Fogh Rasmussen has headed NATO for the past five years.
Jens Stoltenberg, Norway’s ex-prime minister, has been appointed NATO’s next secretary general
Jens Stoltenberg was prime minister of Norway at the time of Anders Breivik’s bomb and gun attacks in 2011.
Anders Breivik killed 77 people when he targeted government buildings in Oslo and young people and officials at a youth camp run by Jens Stoltenberg’s Labor party.
Jens Stoltenberg served as Norway’s prime minister twice, for 18 months in 2000-01 and again from 2005 to 2013.
Fogh Rasmussen said on Twitter that Jens Stoltenberg was “the right man to build on NATO’s record of strength and success”.
In its statement, NATO said: “Mr. Stoltenberg will assume his functions as secretary general as from 1 October 2014, when Mr. Fogh Rasmussen’s term expires after five years and two months at the helm of the alliance.”
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Norwegian media reported that some of the people in a video of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg posing as a taxi driver were paid for taking part.
Norway’s ruling Labour Party confirmed that 5 of 14 passengers filmed in the cab had each been paid 500 kroner ($85; 64 euros).
But while they had been asked to take part in a Labour video, they were not told what it involved, it said.
Jens Stoltenberg said he wanted to hear from real voters before polls next month.
The prime minister’s party, in power since 2005, is trailing Norway’s Conservative Party in opinion polls.
Some of the people in a video of PM Jens Stoltenberg posing as a taxi driver were paid for taking part
The video, made in collaboration with an advertising company in June, is due to be screened during the election campaign but has already been posted on Jens Stoltenberg’s Facebook page.
News that five of Jens Stoltenberg’s passengers were not picked up at random was revealed by Norway’s Verdens Gang (VG) tabloid.
“They’re five ordinary people who were asked if they wanted to take part in a video for the Labour Party and who knew nothing else, except that they were going to be picked up in a taxi,” party spokeswoman Pia Gulbrandsen said.
“Their spontaneity was real when they realized that the driver was the prime minister.”
None of the passengers had to pay for their ride.
Jens Stoltenberg came in for criticism for his driving, at one point jolting the car abruptly when, he said, he had mistakenly applied the brake pedal on the automatic car, thinking it was the clutch.
The two-term prime minister said he had not driven in eight years.
Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg spent an afternoon working incognito as a taxi driver in Oslo, he has revealed.
Jens Stoltenberg said he had wanted to hear from real Norwegian voters and that taxis were one of the few places where people shared their true views.
He wore sunglasses and an Oslo taxi driver uniform for the shift in June, only revealing his identity once he was recognized by his passengers.
Jens Stoltenberg’s exchanges with his passengers were captured on a hidden camera.
The footage – made in collaboration with an advertising company – has been posted on the prime minister’s Facebook page and made into a film which will be used as part of his campaign for re-election in September.
“It is important for me to hear what people really think,” Jens Stoltenberg told Norwegian media.
“And if there is one place people really say what they think about most things, it’s in the taxi.”
Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg spent an afternoon working incognito as a taxi driver in Oslo
Some of the passengers who appear in the film had been told to wait for the taxi – without being told who would be driving – while others were picked up randomly and from taxi ranks.
Most of them appear to realize very quickly that there is something different about their driver, with one saying: “From this angle you really look like Stoltenberg.”
Another says she was lucky to meet him as she “wanted to send a letter”.
The conversation turns to politics in most cases.
Jens Stoltenberg engages one passenger on education, saying: “The main point is to make sure good students have something to stretch for, and to give those who struggle extra help.”
None of the passengers was charged for the ride.
Jens Stoltenberg told the VG newspaper: “I’m pretty well known in Oslo, but I tend to sit in the back seat.”
The Labour prime minister came in for criticism for his driving, at one point jolting the car abruptly when, he said, he mistakenly applied the brake pedal on the automatic car, thinking it was the clutch.
He said he had not driven in eight years.
Jens Stoltenberg is popular in Norway, but opinion polls suggest he is lagging behind the opposition ahead of the election.
Asked by VG whether he would consider becoming a taxi driver full time if he lost the election, Jens Stoltenberg replied: “I thinkthe country and the Norwegian taxi passengers are best served if I’m the prime minister and not a taxi driver.”