MEET THE NEW MASTER: Lars Fause, lead Troms/Finnmark prosecutor and former Svalbard lieutenant governor, to be new archipelago governor under new Sysselmester title as of July 1

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A decade after departing as Svalbard’s second highest-ranking official, Lars Fause is returning as Svalbard’s new governor – under the new gender-neutral Sysselmester title – as of July 1.

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Lars Fause look at his final remaining cases during his last day as Svalbard’s lieutenant governor in January of 2011. Photo by Mark Sabbatini / Icepeople.

“Fause with his background is considered very well qualified for the role as new governor,” said Minister of Justice and Emergency Management Monica Mæland, whose department has administrative oversight of Svalbard, in a prepared statement. “The governor is the government’s chief representative on Svalbard and central in the implementation of Svalbard policy, the exercise of authority and the management of the archipelago. Fause has good insight into both the governor’s tasks, the local communities in Svalbard and Svalbard policy, and has a good foundation for being able to develop the agenda further.”

Fause is currently the lead prosecutor for the Troms and Finnmark districts – a job he held from 2003-2008, and immediately resumed after serving as Svalbard’s lieutenant governor from 2008 to 2010. While serving as the second-in-command meant he primarily dealt with legal tasks handled by the governor such as making decisions on potential legal and Svalbard Treaty violations, the governor’s job will involve more comprehensive and diplomatic duties.

The appointment is for three years with a three-year extension possible. He replaces Kjerstin Askholt, who was appointed to the job in 2015.

Fause will also have the distinction of being the first to serve under the new title of Sysselmester, rather than the long-enduring Sysselmannen, due to a new Norwegian policy requiring all titles of officials and departments be gender neutral. The title change also takes effect July 1.