Norway’s PM reshuffles cabinet following right-wing party’s exit from coalition

epa08144900 Party leader of Norwegian populist Progress Party and Finance Minister Siv Jensen (C) along with deputy party leaders Sylvi Listhaug (3-L) and Terje Soeviknes (2-R), and the leader of the party's parliamentary group, Hans Andreas Limi (R) attend a media conference in Oslo, Norway, 20 January 2020, where Jensen announces that her Progress Party is resigning from Norway's four party government coalition. The move will also cause Prime Minister Erna Solberg to lose her parliamentary majority. The move came after a controversy over the repatriation of a so-called 'IS bride' and her children to Norway. EPA-EFE/FREDRIK VARFJELL NORWAY OUT

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Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg on Friday announced her biggest cabinet reshuffle since taking power in 2013, replacing or repositioning two-thirds of ministers in the hope of reviving the Conservative-led coalition’s prospects.

Solberg this week lost her majority in parliament following the shock exit from government by the right-wing Progress Party over a decision to bring a woman suspected of Islamic State affiliation home to Norway from Syria.

While Progress vowed to still back Solberg as prime minister, opinion polls point to an overwhelming lead for Norway’s centre-left opposition parties ahead of a general election in 2021.

Xinhua reports that the Minister of International Development Nikolai Astrup has been appointed Minister of Digitalisation, while state secretary of the oil ministry Ingvil Smines Tybring-Gjedde has been appointed Minister of Public Security, the announcement said.

Three politicians from the Christian Democratic Party — Kjell Ingolf Ropstad, Olaug Vervik Bollestad and Dag Inge Ulstein — have respectively been appointed Minister of Children and Families, Minister of Agriculture and Food and Minister of International Development.

At the same time, Minister of Children and Equality Linda Hofstad Helleland and Minister of Agriculture and Food Bard Andre Hoksrud “have been honourably discharged from their offices,” the announcement said.

After the reshuffle, the enlarged cabinet has 22 members — nine from Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s Conservative Party, seven from the Progress Party, three from the the Liberal Party and three from the Christian Democratic Party.

Norway’s four center-right parties retained their majority in the latest parliament election in 2017. The Conservative Party and the Progress Party formed a minority government and later expanded its ranks by adding the small Liberal Party in early 2018, but was still not enough to have a majority.

The Christian Democratic Party decided in November to launch negotiations to join the government and the parties reached a deal last Thursday.

Reuters / Xinhua

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