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Labour wants to keep Jagland as Nobel chair

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Labour wants to keep Jagland as Nobel chair
Thorbjørn Jagland giving his speech at the 2012 Nobel Prize ceremony - Norwegian Foreign Office
08:49 CEST+02:00
Norway's Labour Party wants to give Thorbjørn Jagland another term as chairman of the committee which awards the Nobel Peace Prize, it announced on Wednesday, as the recriminations over the selection process grow louder.
"We see that there is speculation in the media and we have also been asked directly, so it is time to clarify: Thorbjørn Jagland is Labour's candidate to sit on the Nobel Committee and he is our candidate to lead it," Helga Pedersen, the party's deputy leader, told Dagens Næringsliv. 
 
Under the Nobel rules, Norway's political parties gain the power to nominate members to the five-person committee based on the number of MPs they have in parliament. 
 
This year, the ruling Conservative Party has gained the right to elect one extra member at the expense of the minority Centre Party, bringing Norway's two right-wing parties a majority in the committee, with three appointees compared to the Labour Party's two. 
 
This means the party will not be able to prevent the Conservatives and Progress from unseating Jagland. 
 
In a controversial comment article in Aftenposten yesterday, the newspaper's political editor Harald Stanghelle cited "good but unconfirmed rumours" that First House, Norway's leading political lobbying firm, had been hired by China to underline the Nobel Committee and Jagland. 
 
First House yesterday categorically denied the insinuation, asserting both that it was neither working for the Chinese government nor for anyone else seeking to influence the Nobel Committee selection. 
 
It has threatened to take Aftenposten to the Norway's Media Ethics Committee over the article. 
 
An unnamed person in the Labour Party warned on Wednesday that the Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee's position was being strengthened by the controversy. 
 
"Jagland is about to become 'untouchable' even for those who did want a change," the person told VG newspaper. 
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