Norway PM turns secret cabbie in election drive

Norway PM turns secret cabbie in election drive

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3:30pm EDT

OSLO (Reuters) – Norway’s prime minister worked secretly as a taxi driver in central Oslo for a day in June, leaving his passengers wondering whether their elected leader had quit the day job. Wearing a taxi driver’s uniform and sunglasses, Jens Stoltenberg drove passengers around the streets of the Norwegian capital for several hours, confirming his identity only after his passengers realized who he was. The stunt, dreamed up by an ad agency as part of Stoltenberg’s campaign for re-election, was filmed on hidden cameras. A video of the event was published on Sunday by daily newspaper VG and on the PM’s Facebook page. Stoltenberg told the newspaper he had wanted to hear people’s honest views on politics. “If there is one place where people say what they really mean about most things, it is in a taxi. Right from the gut,” he told VG.“So, you have begun driving a taxi,” deadpans one passenger after realizing who his chauffeur is. “Have you quit as prime minister?” asks another.

The prime minister’s passengers were in turn shocked, bemused and curious before their discussions turned to politics.

Stoltenberg, who has led the Nordic country for the past eight years, confessed he was not used to driving as he usually sits at the back of his chauffeured car.

At one point the prime minister gives the car an abrupt jolt, thinking he is pressing the clutch when in fact he is applying the automatic vehicle’s brake.

“I am not really happy about the driving,” says one passenger. “I guess I will live,” says another. “Your driving is really bad,” says a third.

Politicians in Norway and the other Nordic countries tend to be more accessible than their colleagues in other European countries. One can often bump into Stoltenberg, for instance, at the weekends walking in the woods surrounding Oslo.

Asked by VG if he would consider becoming a taxi driver full time were he to lose re-election, Stoltenberg said: “I think the nation and Norwegian taxi passengers are best served if I am the prime minister and not a taxi driver.”

Parliamentary elections will take place on September 9. Stoltenberg’s party, Labour, is trailing in the polls against the opposition Conservatives.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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