Digging a hole: New justice minister cancels Svalbard visit to face no-confidence vote for controversial statements

0 0
Read Time:2 Minute, 15 Second

They said her vehement anti-immigration policies wouldn’t likely be relevant to her administrative oversight of Svalbard. They were wrong – perhaps disastrously so for all involved.

listhaugpost
A social media post by Norwegian Minister of Justice and Public Security Sylvi Listhaug accusing political opponents has touched off an uproar that forced her to cancel a visit to Svalbard as she faces a no-confidence vote on Tuesday.

Sylvi Listhaug, appointed Norway’s Minister of Justice and Public Security in January, was supposed to make her first visit to the archipelago Sunday and Monday where, among other things, she likely would have faced a barrage of questions about a new avalanche risk report declaring much of downtown Longyearbyen unsafe.

But she cancelled the trip shortly after the report’s release because she – and possibly Prime Minister Erna Solberg and her entire cabinet – are facing ouster due to a social media post by Listhaug suggesting the opposition Labor Party considers “the rights of terrorists (to be) more important than the security of the nation.” The post was accompanied by a photo of Islamic militants with military fatigues, black scarves and ammunition.

Listhaug, a member of the right-wing Progress Party, wrote the post in response to Labor’s rejection of a proposal to strip jihadists of their Norwegian citizenship without a court decision. It also coincided with the premiere the movie “Utoeya July 22,” about the attacks by right-wing extremist Anders Breivik against Labor Party officials and youths at an politically oriented summer camp. Listhaug subsequently stated she was not trying to said she had no intention of linking the two.

Norway’s Centre Party announced Friday it would join three left-wing parties in a no-confidence motion against Listhaug on Tuesday. If the vote is approved “Prime Minister Erna Solberg would then face the choice of letting Listhaug go, weakening the cabinet and risking a defection by her Progress coalition ally, or to decide that the whole government should resign,” according to Reuters.

The justice ministry is responsible for drafting Svalbard’s budget and policy, and the controversy over Listhaug is occurring while Longyearbyen is facing great uncertainty about its future in a number of ways. In addition to the avalanche assessment which may make 140 homes uninhabitable (worsening an already dire housing shortage), a decision by the government to dismantle its two main coal mines here instead of reopening them has local residents and officials questioning the town’s long-term economic base.

Knut Morten Johansen, the ministry’s state secretary, is scheduled to visit Longyearbyen in Listhaug’s place. A public meeting is scheduled at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Radisson Blu Polar Hotel.

 

About Post Author

Mark Sabbatini

I'm a professional transient living on a tiny Norwegian island next door to the North Pole, where once a week (or thereabouts) I pollute our extreme and pristine environment with paper fishwrappers decorated with seemingly random letters that would cause a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters to die of humiliation. Such is the wisdom one acquires after more than 25 years in the world's second-least-respected occupation, much of it roaming the seven continents in search of jazz, unrecognizable street food and escorts I f****d with by insisting they give me the platonic tours of their cities promised in their ads. But it turns out this tiny group of islands known as Svalbard is my True Love and, generous contributions from you willing, I'll keep littering until they dig my body out when my climate-change-deformed apartment collapses or they exile my penniless ass because I'm not even worthy of washing your dirty dishes.
Happy
Happy
0 %
Sad
Sad
0 %
Excited
Excited
0 %
Sleepy
Sleepy
0 %
Angry
Angry
0 %
Surprise
Surprise
0 %

Average Rating

5 Star
0%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%