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King Harald approves changes in Norway’s government

King Harald of Norway has approved changes in his country’s government. It follows a recent announcement by the government that it is changing from a three-party to a majority four-party-administration. The politicians met at the Royal Palace in Oslo on Tuesday to receive the approval of King Harald to form a new government in an extraordinary Council of State.

Last autumn, the Christian People’s Party (also called the Christian Democratic Party) held an internal referendum where they decided to join the current government, creating a centre right administration. Since January 2nd 2019, the Conservative Party, the Progress Party, the Liberal Party and Christian People’s Party have been in negotiations. Now they have agreed on a new political platform.

The three new ministers from the Christian Democratic party. Photo: Oskar Aanmoen / Royal Central.

From the left: Siv Jensen, minister of finance and leader of the progress party. Erna Solberg, prime minister and leader of the conservative party and Trine S. Grande, minister of culture and leader of the liberal party. Photo: Oskar Aanmoen / Royal Central.

New Ministers in the new government are:

  • Parliament member from the Christian People’s Party, Kjell Ingolf Ropstad, becomes Minister of Children and Family, and receives responsibility for religious policies.
  • Acting leader of the Christian People’s Party, Olaug Bollestad, becomes Minister of Agriculture and Food.
  • Parliament member from the Christian People’s Party, Dag Inge Ulstein, becomes Minister of Development.
  • Parliament member from the Progress Party, Ingvil Tybring-Gjedde, becomes Minister of Emergency Affairs.

Nikolai Astrup, from the Conservative party, leaves his position as Minister of Development to become the new Minister of Digitization. Minister of Culture, Trine Skei Grande, from the Liberal party also receives responsibility for gender equality. Justice, emergency, preparedness and immigration Minister, Tor Mikkel Wara, loses responsibility for emergency preparedness and gets the title of Justice and Immigration Minister. The rest of the government continues as before.

The changes were announced last Friday. The four parties had been struggling to agree on the new government’s policy on several issues including refugees, alcohol and abortion. However, they have now reached agreement following compromises.

It was expected that Crown Prince Haakon Magnus would also attend the Council of State. However, he missed the event as he is travelling to Switzerland where he will attend the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Minister Roppstad will most likely be the next leader of the Christian Democratic party. Photo: Oskar Aanmoen / Royal Central.

The new government will have a more restrictive abortion policy. Many protested outside the palace against this. Photo: Oskar Aanmoen / Royal Central.

The Council of State in Norway is a formal body composed of the most senior government ministers chosen by the Prime Minister, and it functions as the collective decision-making organ constituting the executive branch of the Kingdom of Norway.

With the exception of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who retain their ministerial ranking in their own right, all the other members of the Cabinet concurrently hold the position of “statsråd”, meaning Councillor of State, and that of Chief of the various departments. They are not formally considered ‘ministers’, although they are commonly addressed as such. The Cabinet normally convenes every week, usually on Fridays at 11:00 a.m. at the Royal Palace, Oslo, and is presided over by the monarch.

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