Jens Stoltenberg, the Prime Minister of Norway, decided to spend an afternoon working as a secret taxi driver in order to listen to voters, and hear their concerns.
Mr Stoltenberg’s stunt was devised in order to hear from real Norwegian inhabitants, and he stated that he believes taxis are the few place where people discuss their true views on life.
The exchanges occurred in June, and the politician remained incognito by donning a taxi driver’s uniform and large sunglasses. Their discussions were then captured on video, and Mr Stoltenberg only revealed his identity when they arrived at their destination.
The footage was created in collaboration with an advertising company, and it has since been uploaded to the prime minister’s Facebook page. It will also be used to help Mr Stoltenberg’s re-election campaign, which will be decided in September.
Mr Stoltenberg told various media outlets that it was integral for him to listen to what individuals really think, before adding, “And if there is one place people really say what they think about most things, it’s in the taxi.” The passengers were either randomly picked up from taxi ranks, or told to wait in the spot specifically.
Some individuals realised instantly that their driver was the Norwegian prime minister, with one stating, “From this angle you really look like Mr Stoltenberg.” While another person stated that this was a lucky coincidence, because she had planned to send him a letter.
Most of the time the discussion immediately turned to politics, with Mr Stoltenberg asking one passenger, “The main point is to make sure good students have something to stretch for, and to give those who struggle extra help,” when talking about his stance on education.
None of the passengers were charged for the journey, but Jens Stoltenberg, who hadn’t driven for 8 years, was criticised for his ability behind the wheel. The Norwegian Prime Minister is currently lagging behind in the polls.