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King Harald approves surprising change in the Norwegian government

King Harald of Norway, together with his son Crown Prince Haakon, approved a surprising change in the Norwegian government on Friday morning. No changes were expected in the government and the change was to bring back a former minister who in 2018 was forced to resign.

The Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, asked the king to approve former minister and current parliament member Sylvi Listhaug as new minister of the elderly and the public health. Listhaug takes over the ministerial post after Åse Michaelsen, who was Norway’s first minister for the elderly and the public health.

Newly inaugurated minister of the elderly and the public health, Sylvia Listhaug. Photo: Bård Gudim/FrPMedia via Wikimedia Commons.

The extraordinary Council of State in March 2018 followed a Norwegian governmental crisis when Justice Minister Listhaug left the government. Listhaug stood above a vote of disapproval in the parliament after she published a post on Facebook claiming that the Norwegian Labor Party put terrorists’ rights before Norwegian security.

Sylvi Listhaug is a Norwegian politician for the Progress Party. Listhaug served as Norway’s first Minister of Immigration and Integration from 2015 to 2018, a specially created cabinet position during the European migrant crisis, and Minister of Agriculture and Food from 2013 to 2015. She served as Minister of Justice, Public Security and Immigration from January 2018 until her resignation in March 2018. As Minister of Migration and Integration, Listhaug reduced the number of asylum seekers arriving in Norway from 30,000 in 2015 to 2,000 in 2017.

Prime Minister Solberg gives the king the speech of the throne in 2018. 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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