Carl I. Hagen
Carl I. Hagen
President of the Storting
Assumed office:
October 19, 2009
Preceded by: Thorbjørn Jagland
Born: May 6, 1944
Flag of Norway Oslo, Norway
Political party: Fremskrittspartiet Logo Progress Party
Alma mater: Newcastle University
Spouse: Nina Aamott (1970-1977)
Eli Hagen (1983-present)
Occupation: Politician

Carl Ivar Hagen (born May 6, 1944) is a Norwegian politician for the Progress Party, and since October 2009 the President of the Storting. Prior to this, Hagen served as the Vice President of the Storting from 2005 to 2009 and was the chairman of the Progress Party (Norwegian: Fremskrittspartiet) from 1978 until 2006, being succeeded by Siv Jensen.

Hagen is an educated economist from the Newcastle University, is married, and lives in Oslo Vest. He started his political career in Anders Lange's Party, were he was the party secretary from 1977 to 1981. From 1978 to 2006, he was the party chairman of the Progress Party, thus having served longer than any other Norwegian party chairmen in Norwegian political history. During Hagen's leadership the Progress Party has experienced a tremendous growth, becoming the second largest party in Norway in the 2005 parliamentary election, only smaller than the Labour Party.

In 2005, he was appointed Vice President of the Storting under the presidency of Thorbjørn Jagland. In 2009 he was appointed President of the Storting, a position he held until 2013. He was one of the most prominent politicians during the Russo-Norwegian War, where he managed to unite the parliament in time of war. Following the parliamentary election in 2013, he was appointed Minister of Elderly Affairs.

Early life and education

Carl I. Hagen was born on May 6, 1944 in Oslo, Norway. He is the son of CEO Ragnar Hagen (1908-1969) and accountant Gerd Gamborg (1914- ). He has an older sister (Jorunn) and a younger sister (Inger). He grew up on Røa in Oslo.

Hagen did not come from a significantly Conservative home. His father was originally employed at the Price Directorate, and according to Hagen both of his parents voted for the Labour Party until his father became the CEO of Nesodden/Bundefjord Damskipsselskab. Hagen has in many contexts explained the reason of his interest in Anders Lange's tax protest was that he lost faith in the Conservative Party as an alternative to social democracy under the government of Per Borten, when taxes increased even more than under the Labour Party as well as the state's power over individuals equally increased. Hagen would reduce the state's power and increase the rights of the individual, and he felt that Anders Lange's views appealed to his basic attitudes.

Hagen went at the science side at the high school on Persbråten, and had ambitions of becoming an engineer. In 1963 he received his Examen artium. However, his grades were not good enough to get into NTH, and Hagen began his engineering education in Sunderland, where he flunked at the entrance examinations. Instead, he began studying economics in Newcastle in 1966. It was during his studies at Newcastle that Hagens big interest in politics was sparked. In 1967 he challenged the student politician Jack Straw to a divisive voting for the leadership of the National Union of Students, but failed. In 1968 he received the Higher National Diploma in Business Studies, as well as the Diploma in marketing at the Institute of Marketing in London.

Before Hagen went into politics, he was the CEO at the sugar producer Tate & Lyle Norway A/S (1968-1974). He has also worked as an economist at Akers Mechanical Workshop, as a consultant at Finansanalyse A/S (1977-1979) and as a economic policy consultant in the oil industry (1979-1981). He was also a member of the board of the British Business Forum in 1972 and a member of the board of Norske Agenters landsforbund between 1972 and 1974.

Political career

Early years

Carl I. Hagen with Arve Lønnum

Carl I. Hagen (right) receives the party hammer from outgoing party chairman Arve Lønnum in 1978.

Carl I. Hagen began his political life and profession as the party secretary and Deputy representative to the Parliament for the protest party Anders Lange's Party (Anders Langes Parti, ALP). In the invitation to the party's inaugural meeting on Saga Kino in Oslo, the 8 April 1973, a poster with the title "We've had enough" was made, that with ten points listed what the party was opposed to. Hagen, who was a part of the party leadership already from its foundation, started from the very beginning the work to make ALP to a people's party in the traditional sense of the word. He first obtained approval for reformulating the ten protest points to "we want" the ten points should describe what the ALP was in favour of, and not what it was against.

Anders Lange's Party received five percent and four representatives in the parliamentary elections in 1973. Hagen was selected as the 1st Deputy Representative for Oslo. In 1974 serious disagreements emerged about how the Party should be run. Hagen was in favour of building a party with a rules, a party programme and an organizational apparatus. The strife led to the division of the party, and in the spring of 1974 a splinter group led by Carl I. Hagen and Kristoffer Almås left the party to form the Reformpartiet (Reform Party) with Hagen as chairman. Anders Lange died on October 18, 1974, after which Hagen entered the Parliament as an independent representative of Reformpartiet. In May 1975 the two fractions reconciled, and the members of the Reform Party got full rights of membership in ALP, which 90% took up, including Hagen. The return was marked by a reconciliation toast at the opening of the ALP pub in the basement of Oslo’s Amalienborg Restaurant.

Unfortunately, this didn't help the results of the election in the county election of 1975, and the decline in the opinion polls continued. In April 1977 they bottomed out at 0.2%, and in the parliamentary election of 1977 they received 1.9% of the vote, with no members returning parliament.

Party chairman for the Progress Party

Carl I. Hagen Stortinget 1986

Carl I. Hagen speaks in a session at the Storting in 1986.

On January 29, 1977 the party changed its name to the Fremskrittspartiet (Progress Party, FrP). At the general assembly the following year, on February 10-11, 1978, Carl I. Hagen was elected the new party chairman. As chairman Hagen has since then been virtually unchallenged and had no real challenger. He has thus served longer than any other Norwegian party chairmen, longer than both Oskar Torp and Einar Gerhardsen. Carl I. Hagen has many times held up Einar Gerhardsen as an example for the party.

Carl I. Hagen won the election for chairman at the general assembly at the KNA hotel in Oslo in 1978, and has been party chairman ever since. The laborious work of building up the Party continued along with the steady progress that began after the death of Anders Lange and hitting rock bottom in 1975.

Carl I. Hagen election night 1989

Carl I. Hagen (right) and vice chairman Peter N. Myhre (left) receives a laurel wreath from fellow party members on election night, September 11, 1989.

Frp has experienced a tremendous growth with Carl I. Hagen at the helm. He was a gifted speaker, whose intuition for moods and popular sentiment succeeded in sharpening the image of the party as an anti-tax movement and a party promoting stricter immigration policies. His criticism of the wisdom of hoarding billions of dollars worth in the “State Fund” hit a nerve due to infrastructure, schools, and social services declining including months long queues at hospitals.

In the municipality and county council election of 1979, FrP got 2.5% support. In the parliamentary election of 1981, FrP gots 4.5% and four members of parliament, one of them being Carl I. Hagen himself representing Oslo. In the Municipality and county election of 1983 FrP got 6.3% support, but faced a setback in the 1985 general election with 3.7% of the vote. However, as the Conservative Prime Minister Kåre Willoch's cabinet had lost much of its parliamentary basis in the election, he was dependent on the Progress party for support. In May 1986 the cabinet lost a vote of no confidence over Willoch's proposal to increase surcharges on gasoline, when the Socialist Left Party, Labour Party, and Progress party joined forces.

The setback was temorary, however, as the Progress Party became the third biggest party in the country in the Municipality and county council elections in 1987 with 12.3% of the vote. In 1988 the general assembly is held at the SAS hotel in Bergen and a large part of it is broadcast live on NRK. This resulted in a marked increase in support according to the polls. In the general election of 1989, FrP got 13% support and 22 members of Parliament; 20 regular and two equalisation members.

The early 1990s were marked with internal strifes and low support. In the municipality and county council election in 1991 FrP gots 7%, in the general election in 1993 they got 6.3%. In 1994 the party is divided. First vice-chairwoman Ellen Wibe and four members of parliament leave the Fremskrittspartiet and cancels their memberships (Hillgaard, Bråthen, Christiansen and Wetterstad). Lodve Solholm was elected first vice-chairman after Wibe, while Carl I. Hagen was re-elected as party chairman. The general asembly was held at Bolkesjø Hotel in Telemark - later referred to as "Dolkesjø" (from "dolk", dagger). However, the internal strife was followed by renewed support, and the party gained 12% in municipality and county elections of 1995, further reinforced by the result in the general election in 1997, where FrP becomes the second biggest party in the country with 15.3%. One of the reason of this growth was due to their policies on Immigration. In the municipality and county council election of 1999 the party received 13.5% of the votes, which was the best result in the history of the Party in a municipality election.

File:Carl I. Hagen Chairman FrP.png

In 2001 the the unrest in the Party continued, where members of parliament who were not re-nominated chose to leave the Party and cancel their memberships. However, the result of the general election is the second best in the history of the Party, with 14.6% of the votes. The municipality and county council election of 2003 was the best in the Party’s history, with 17.9% of the votes.

Siv Jensen Landsmøte 2006

Carl I. Hagen hands over the chairman's club to Siv Jensen at the party congress on May 6, 2006.

In the period 2003-2005 the party had around 20 % in the opinion polls. Hagen had hoped to crown his political career as the President of the Storting in the election in 2001, when he failed to achieved this because Jørgen Kosmo (Ap) was preferred by the other "bourgeois" parties, Hagen said that "his dream had been shattered". After the parliamentary election in 2005, Hagen was elected vice president of the Storting, and stepped down as the parliamentary leader of the Progress Party, in favour of Siv Jensen.

Carl I. Hagen did not seek re-election as party chairman at the party congress between March 5-7, 2006, which opened the way for Siv Jensen to become the party's new chairman. During the congress in Hell in 2007, it became clear that Carl I. Hagen would be working as the party's "elder general" during the municipal election the same autumn.

Vice President of the Storting

After the parliamentary election in 2005, Hagen was elected vice president of the Storting, serving under President of the Storting Thorbjørn Jagland of the Labour Party.

As Vice President, one of his most core issues was the modernisation of the language in the Norwegian consitution. On September 23, 2008, Carl I. Hagen along with Professor of modern Nordic languages Finn-Erik Vinje proposed to modernise 112 paragraphs in the Norwegian constitution, removing old words to in use in the Norwegian language, in order to make it more understandable for common people. There has only been one modernisation of the constitution since it was written in 1814, which occurred in 1903. Both Hagen and Vinje explained that both of their neighbouring countries of Denmark and Sweden had gradually modernized the language in their constitutions, and that it would be sensible to have a constitution in a language everyone understands.

On April 30, 2008, Carl I. Hagen announced that he would retire from politics and that he does not seek re-election to the Storting. However, following the victory of the Progress Party in the parliamentary election on September 14, 2009, he declared that he would accept the post as the President of the Storting if asked, but would otherwise stay true to his earlier announcement.

President of the Storting

Carl I. Hagen President of the Storting

Carl I. Hagen as the President of the Storting.

His election as President of the Storting was controversial, with 24 members of parliament voting against his appointment.

In the first half year as President, he continued the modernisation process of the language in the Norwegian constitution along with Professor of modern Nordic languages Finn-Erik Vinje. While they made some significant progress with their work, the Russian invasion of Northern Norway would put all political and constitutional reforms on hold.

Russo-Norwegian War

When the Russian Army invaded Northern Norway on September 10, 2010, Hagen called for an emergency summit of the Storting the same day. While the discussion between the Socialist Left Party and elements of the Labour Party on one side and the other parties including the Labour Party, the Progress Party and the Conservatives on the other escalated on the issue of whether to ask for a ceasefire with the Russians, Hagen called upon both sides to join in force as they did in April 1940. His speech, along with that of King Harald V, were influential in uniting the parliament in time of war and persuaded them to continue the fight against the Russians with assistance from other NATO members, including the United States.


While being a controversial politician, Hagen had great abilities as a speaker and was one of Norway's leading parliamentarians following the Second World War, along with Gro Harlem Brundtland and Kåre Willoch.

Personal life

Hagen was married to Nina Aamott from 1970 to 1977. The couple had two children, daughter Camilla (born May 11, 1972) and son Carl Axel (born February 1, 1974). Camilla took a B.A. in Government in 2007, and is the single mother of four; Cristine (13), Cecilie (11), Ingvild (9) and Anniken (7). Carl Axel is a captain in His Majesty The King's Guard (Hans Majestet Kongens Garde), and has served two times in Afghanistan with Telemark Battalion and two times in Bosnia, and now lives with his wife Aina and their three children Caroline (6), Victoria (4) and Celine (2) in Oslo. During the Russo-Norwegian War in 2010, Carl Axel re-enlisted to serve with Telemark Batallion in Northern Norway, where he served until the end of the war.

In 1983, Hagen married Eli Oddveig Engum Hagen, who became his advisor and secretary during his time in the Storting and as party chairman. Eli has two children from her first marriage, Elisabeth (39) and Marianne (32). He is on good terms with all of his and his wife's family members.

He previously resided in Nøtterøy but has moved back to Bestum in Oslo Vest. Otherwise, he spends much of his time in Spain.

Offices held

Political offices
Coat of Arms of Norway Preceded by:
Thorbjørn Jagland

President of the Storting
2009 – present

Preceded by:
Inge Lønning

Vice President of the Storting
2005 – 2009

Succeeded by:
Jonas Gahr Støre
Party political offices
Fremskrittspartiet Logo Preceded by:
Arve Lønnum

Chairman of the Progress Party
1978 – 2006

Succeeded by:
Siv Jensen
60px Post established
Party secretary of Anders Lange's Party
1973 – 1974

Party split

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