A new government

Progress Party is out, opening a slew of minority government appointments

Solberg government

Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen / NTB Scanpix
Erna Solberg celebrates at the Palace Square.

The Local

Prime Minister Erna Solberg presented her new government and ministers at Slotts­plassen in Oslo on Jan. 24, meaning Norway now has a minority government for the first time in 15 years.

The re-shuffle and appointment of new ministers comes after the populist Progress Party quit the coalition earlier this week.

The background for the decision was Norway’s decision to allow a woman linked with the Islamic State terror group back into the country on humanitarian grounds. Progress Party leader Siv Jensen also cited “not seeing enough of our politics implemented” as the anti-immigration party withdrew from the government five days earlier on Jan. 20.

A notable departure from the new Solberg minority government is Anniken Hauglie, who leaves her post as Minister of Labor.Hauglie’s ministry is at the center of controversy surrounding Norway’s Labor and Welfare Administration, NAV, which incorrectly interpreted European Union rules on certain types of social security, resulting in a string of incorrect convictions of benefit fraud. Hauglie is succeeded by Torbjørn Røe Isaksen.

Opposition party the Socialist Left has criticized the removal of Hauglie at the same time as parliamentary investigations into the social security scandal. Solberg denied that the departure is an admission of guilt on the part of the government.

Another notable ministerial change is the appointment of Knut Arild Hareide, the former leader of the Christian Democratic Party who, during his leadership of that party, refused to govern alongside the Progress Party. Hareide becomes minister of transport.

The Progress Party prickled at the appointment of Hareide as well as the Liberals’ Abid Raja, who last fall accused the populist party of engaging in “brown propaganda.” Raja will take over as Minister for Culture and Equality.

A total of nine ministers, seven from the Progress Party along with Hauglie and outgoing climate minister Ole Elvestuen, have been replaced, with seven new appointments. Six ministers have been given new portfolios or ministries, and six, along with Solberg, continue with their current jobs.

Twelve of the ministers come from Solberg’s Conservative Party, with four each from the Liberals and Christian Democrats.

Tina Bru from Solberg’s party has been given the key post of Minister of Oil and Energy. The new Finance Minister Jan Tore Sanner, also from the Conservatives, takes the job vacated by Jensen.

This article was originally published on The Local.

This article originally appeared in the February 7, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American.

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