Norway appoints immigration hardliner Sandberg as new justice minister

AFP/The Local
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Norway appoints immigration hardliner Sandberg as new justice minister
Per Sandberg. Photo: Audun Braastad / NTB scanpix

Minister of fisheries and a member of the anti-immigration Progress Party (FrP) Per Sandberg is temporarily replacing Sylvi Listhaug as Norway’s Minister of Justice, Public Security and Immigration.


58-year-old Sandberg, who is also considered close to the FrP's populist wing, has often made headlines in the media.

In 1997, a court slapped him with a 3,000 kroner (around 400 euros) fine for hitting an asylum seeker from the former Yugoslavia at a late-night party at his home.

"I don't remember who started it, but the headbutting went off like a pure reflex and then it was over," Sandberg wrote in his 2013 memoir.

Social media users were indulging in the irony.

"It's a bit strange to have a justice minister with a police record which would make it impossible for him to work in the police or as a prison guard," a Twitter user said.

"Good news guys! If you've ever been convicted of violence against an asylum seeker, then the FrP has a job for you as acting Minister of Justice and Immigration," another tweet said.

Listhaug, who had been under fire for over a week, announced her resignation on Facebook, sparing Conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg from calling a vote of confidence in the government, whose outcome was uncertain.

In a Facebook post on March 9th, Listhaug shocked the nation when she accused the opposition Labour Party of considering that "the rights of terrorists are more important than the security of the nation".

Labour members were the main victims of the bloodiest attacks on Norwegian soil since the Second World War when, on July 22nd, 2011, right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik, who once was a member of the Progress Party, killed 77 people in twin attacks targeting then-Labour prime minister Jens Stoltenberg's office in Oslo and another against a Labour youth camp on the island of Utøya.

READ ALSO: Sylvi Listhaug resigns as Norway's justice minister


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