Agrarian centrist political party now Norway’s largest

Vedum

Photo: Jil Yngland / NTB scanpix
With his unconventional style, Trygve Slagsvold Vedum calls his constituents to a rally in front of the Norwegian parliament building.

M. MICHAEL BRADY
Asker, Norway

Senterpartiet (Center Party), an agrarian centrist political party, is now Norway’s largest in numbers of adherents. Its young leader is Trygve Slagsvold Vedum (born 1978), who holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and since 2005 has been a member of the Storting, the Norwegian parliament. As a politician, Vedum reflects Norwegian grassroots politics from whence he came.

Vedum

Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB scanpix
Trygve Slagsvold Vedum at home on his farm.

By profession, he’s a farmer, who lives on the Bjørby family farm at Ilseng in Stange commune in Innlandet County (the Jan. 1, 2020, merger of former counties of  Hedmark and Oppland, part of the administrative reorganization of the country reported in “Regions reformed,” The Norwegian American, July 28, 2017). He was born in Hamar, the administrative center of Innlandet county. His parents were teachers, with his father a member of a college faculty and his mother at an upper secondary school. He’s married, to Cathrine Wegerland Vedum, a fellow student he met at the University of Oslo. Together they have two daughters, now age 9 and 14.

His approach to politics, now called “Vedum’s Method,” is based on political savvy that led to his first major position in politics as minister of agriculture in Jens Stoltenberg’s second cabinet, the coalition government of Norway from 2005 to 2013. Yet Vedum’s Method comes across as entertainment. In 2017, his public performances were likened to those of a clown, which he admitted, pointing out that clowns communicate well. In turn, that led in 2020 to his being the only politician among eight contestants in Maskorama, the Norwegian version of the Masked Singer international music game show, in which he wore a scarecrow costume.

Today Vedum has an increasingly strong rapport with voters, and he often is mentioned in Norwegian media as a politician worth watching.

Facts about the Center Party

Norwegian centrist party whose key issues are rural politics and decentralization, agricultural policy, and opposition to the European Union

  • Established in 1920 as the Farmer’s Party, with its current name since 1959
  • Party leader: Trygve Slagsvold Vedum
  • Percentage won in the most recent municipal elections (2015): 8.5%
  • Mayors elected in the 2015 election: 98
  • Percentage won in the most recent county-level elections (2015): 8%
  • Percentage won in the most recent Storting election (2017): 10.3%
  • Highest ever percentage won in municipal elections: 11.6% in 1995
  • Lowest ever percentage won in municipal elections: 3.9% in 1945
  • Highest ever percentage won in county-level elections: 12% in 1991
  • Lowest ever percentage won in county-level elections: 6.3% in 2011

Source: NTB

This article originally appeared in the Jan. 15, 2021, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

M. Michael Brady

M. Michael Brady was born, raised, and educated as a scientist in the United States. After relocating to the Oslo area, he turned to writing and translating. In Norway, he is now classified as a bilingual dual national.

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