Norway’s Far Right May Come to Power Despite Memory of Anders Breivik’s Killing Spree
Prableen Kaur has arrived at Grorud Naersenter, a drab shopping mall on the outskirts of Oslo, armed with hundreds of red roses and an unshakable faith in Norway’s democracy. The roses are an easy sell. “It’s an icebreaker — people usually don’t say no,” the 20-year-old Labor Party candidate says as she thrusts flowers and campaign leaflets into shoppers’ hands.
Harder to understand is her tolerance toward those sharing the views of Anders Behring Breivik, the white supremacist who left her cowering under the bodies of her friends as he calmly shot dead 69 people at a Labor Party youth camp on Utoya Island two years ago. He claimed to be on a crusade against multiculturalism and immigration, intent on wiping out the future generation of a party he blamed for the “Islamic invasion” of Norway.
“People can share their thoughts and their opinions — it is their democratic right,” says Kaur, who survived the July 22 massacre by leaping into the cold fjord. “I think democracy works better if every different opinion can be a part of the debate.”
The problem for Kaur is that the democratic system she cherishes is forecast to oust the Labor Party after eight years in power. Elections next month could even see an anti-immigration party that once counted Breivik as a member join a coalition government for the first time.