Norwegian Finance Minister resigns over the return of ISIL woman from Syria | Norway News

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Norwegian Finance Minister Siv Jensen and her right-wing Progress Party will resign from the government for the cabinet's decision to help bring a woman suspected of affiliation to ISIL to Norway, Jensen said Monday.

The resignation deprives the conservative prime minister, Erna Solberg, of his parliamentary majority and could make the country more difficult to govern, but Solberg still plans to remain in office as head of a minority coalition.

"We brought the government, and now I'm throwing the party," Jensen said at a press conference.

There had been "too many commitments," Jensen said, adding that he wants to have a close dialogue with the prime minister in the future.

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The Norwegian krona currency remained virtually unchanged after the announcement.

Solberg said she would remain in office as head of a three-party minority coalition.

Most Norwegian governments since the 1970s have ruled with a minority in parliament, including Solberg between 2013 and January 2019.

Jensen's departure was triggered by the decision, announced last week, that the Norwegian woman and her two children would receive help to return to Norway from Syria so that one of the children could receive medical treatment.

The woman, who left Norway in 2013, was arrested on her return on suspicion of being a member of the ISIL group (or ISIS) that briefly controlled a territory the size of Britain in Iraq and Syria.

While the Progress Party offered to help children, the populist party tried to deny any government assistance to adults who wish to return to their homes after joining armed groups abroad or marrying foreign fighters.

Decisions about whether to help women with ties to ISIL to return from Syria have caused controversy in Europe, including in Finland, where the newly appointed government made a commitment to decide each case individually.

The Norwegian woman, who has not been named, has denied the charges against her and will cooperate fully with the police during the interrogation, her lawyer said.

Jensen's departure, along with six other cabinet ministers from the Progress Party, leaves Solberg with a series of positions to fill, including that of the oil and energy minister to oversee the largest oil and gas industry in Western Europe.

In the ministry of finance, the new designated person will chart the course of the world's largest sovereign wealth fund, with assets of $ 1.1 billion.

The Norwegian constitution does not allow early elections, and the next vote for parliament will take place in September 2021.

SOURCE:
Reuters news agency