After Iran-born singer Tooji finished last in Saturday night’s competition, with a song co-written by a pair of Swedes, the centre-right Coastal Party (Kystpartiet) politician took to Facebook to voice her displeasure: “If Norway is to represent Norway, maybe it’s time to stop having Russians, Africans, Swedes and Iranians perform for us.”
Party leader Bengt Stabrun Johansen was quick to distance himself from Ovesen’s remarks, newspaper Nordlys reports.
“These are not views that reflect the Coastal Party’s policies,” said Stabrun Johansen.
“She needs to take note of the fact that, as an elected representative, she represents our voters and should avoid airing private opinions on Facebook.”
Despite facing criticism from several quarters, Ovesen insisted she was not racist.
The Eurovision Song Contest, she told newspaper Finnmark, offered Norway an ideal opportunity to showcase the country’s culture and traditions.
“What is really important to us: cherishing our Norwegian heritage or letting others take over everything we have that’s Norwegian?” she said.
Tooji, who came to Norway from Iran at the age of one with his mother and older brother, was the surprise runaway winner in the national Eurovision qualifiers in February.
Swedish singer Loreen scored a landslide victory in Saturday night’s final in Baku with her song Euphoria.