OSLO (Reuters) – Norwegian Justice Minister Sylvi Listhaug, who was almost certain to lose a no-confidence due later on Tuesday, has resigned in a bid to prevent a collapse of the center-right minority government.
Listhaug provoked anger and dismay earlier this month when she accused the opposition Labour Party of putting “terrorists’ rights” before national security, a particularly sensitive topic for Labour which was hit in 2011 by a mass shooting by far right militant Anders Behring Breivik.
Listhaug made her comments after Labour and the Christian Democrats helped defeat a bill allowing the state the right, without judicial review, to strip individuals of Norwegian citizenship if they were suspected of terrorism or of joining foreign militant groups.
Listhaug’s comments triggered a political storm, and she apologized in parliament last week. Opposition parties, however, said her gesture was not sincere enough, and that she should resign.
Norway’s opposition Christian Democrats said on Monday it would join five center-left parties in backing a no-confidence motion, securing a majority in favor of ousting Listhaug.
The vote in parliament had been scheduled to take place later on Tuesday. Prime Minister Erna Solberg faced the choice of letting Listhaug go, weakening the cabinet and risking a defection by Progress, or to get the whole government to resign.
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