Jens Stoltenberg, Norway’s Prime Minister, Drives A Taxi To Gauge Public Sentiment

on August 13 2013 1:03 AM
stoltenberg
Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and two passengers laugh, after they realized he was driving a taxi in Oslo, in this still image taken from video provided by the Norwegian Labour Party on August 11, 2013 Reuters

Norway’s Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg, went on an unusual campaign in June, months before the country’s parliamentary election, which is set for Sept. 9, by going undercover as a taxi driver in the capital city of Oslo.

Dressed in a cab driver’s uniform, Stoltenberg drove around Oslo ferrying passengers to their destinations, and at the same time gauging what the public expected out of the country's politicians. Stoltenberg revealed his identity only when passengers recognized him.

“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 local newspaper VG, the Daily Mail reported.

Stoltenberg is seeking re-election in September, and according to reports, his Labor Party is trailing in polls against the Conservative party. The stunt, which is expected to boost his popularity, has since been put up on the prime minister’s Facebook page, and has garnered close to 10,000 likes.

None of the passengers who appear on the film were told about who would be driving the taxi; but they were quick to find out. The video shows one passenger saying that the driver resembled Stoltenberg, while another asked, “Have you quit as prime minister?”

The video shows a majority of them picking on Stoltenberg's poor driving skills, with one passenger saying, “Your driving isn’t exactly the best I’ve seen.” The prime minister responds by saying it has been eight years since he drove a car, turning his skills a bit rusty.

"Driving a cab was a good way to meet people and discuss their issues," Stoltenberg was quoted as saying by the Wall Street Journal. "The surprise was good fun, and I probably enjoyed it every bit as much as my passengers. That said, I think it's better for the taxi passengers of Norway that I am the prime minister and not a cab driver since my driving was less than perfect."

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