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King Harald approves new Justice Minister following the arrest of former minister’s partner

In an ordinary council of state this morning at the Royal Palace in Oslo, King Harald of Norway approved a new temporary minister of justice. The appointment took place following the arrest of the partner of the incumbent justice minister.

The Minister of Justice, Tor Mikkel Wara, has not formally resigned but has been granted a leave of absence for an indefinite time. The King has accepted the Prime Minister’s decision to appoint current Minister of Agriculture, Jon Georg Dale, as acting Minister of Justice until further notice.

Norwegian police arrested Tor Mikkel Wara`s partner, Laila Anita Bertheussen, on suspicion of setting her family’s car on fire in an attack which took place on Sunday. She is also being investigated over several other incidents, over the past four months, in which the home she and Tor Mikkel Wara share has been targeted. Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, described the arrest as ”a shock”.

Former minister Tor Mikkel Wara to the right, her together with minister of fishery Harald Tom Nesvik. Photo: Oskar Aanmoen / Royal Central.

It was in April 2018 that King Harald appointed Tor Mikkel Wara as Justice, Preparedness and Immigration Minister in Erna Solberg’s government. In January this year, the king approved changes in the government in an extraordinary council of state. Then minister Wara lost his responsibility for emergency preparedness and got the title of Justice and Immigration Minister following an expansion of the government.

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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