New justice minister

Norway appoints immigration hardliner Per Sandberg after Listhaug’s resignation

Per Sandberg

Photo: © Alexander Helberg / © IC Hendel
Per Sandberg outside Stortinget in 2015.

The Local

Minister of fisheries and member of the anti-immigration Progress Party (FrP) Per Sandberg is temporarily replacing Sylvi Listhaug as Norway’s Minister of Justice, Public Security, and Immigration.

The 58-year-old Sandberg, who is considered close to the FrP’s populist wing, has often made headlines in the media.

In 1997, a court slapped him with a NOK 3,000 (almost $400) fine for hitting an asylum seeker from the former Yugoslavia at a late-night party at his home.

“I don’t remember who started it, but the headbutting went off like a pure reflex,” Sandberg wrote in his 2013 memoir.

Social media users were indulging in the irony: “It’s a bit strange to have a justice minister with a police record that would make it impossible for him to work in the police or as a prison guard,” a Twitter user said.

Listhaug, who had been under fire for over a week, announced her resignation on Facebook, sparing Conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg from calling a vote of confidence in the government, the outcome of which was uncertain.

In a Facebook post on March 9, Listhaug shocked the nation when she accused the opposition Labor Party of believing that “the rights of terrorists are more important than the security of the nation.” This was in response to Labor’s rejection of a proposal to strip jihadists of their Norwegian citizenship without due process of law.

Labor members were the main victims when, on July 22, 2011, terrorist Anders Behring Breivik, who was once a member of the Progress Party, killed 77 people in twin attacks targeting then-Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg’s office in Oslo and a Labor youth camp on the island of Utøya.

This article originally appeared in the April 6, 2018, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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