OSLO Oct 16 Norway's Conservative Prime
Minister Erna Solberg unveiled her minority government on
Wednesday, giving the key oil and finance portfolios to her
smaller coalition ally, the populist Progress Party.
Solberg, Norway's second female prime minister, appointed
women to half of the cabinet posts, in line with an unwritten
rule about gender equality, and for the first time, the top two
jobs will be held by women.
The new government, promising to lower taxes, reduce the
economy's reliance on the vast oil sector, invest heavily in
infrastructure and curtail immigration, now has just a few weeks
to revise the outgoing government's 2014 budget to reflect its
Solberg kept 11 of 18 cabinet posts for her Conservative
Party and made Progress Party leader Siv Jensen finance
minister, in line with the norm for previous coalitions in
Analysts said that appointment was also an attempt to
curtail the anti-immigration and anti-tax party's room to push
for more spending by making it directly responsible for public
finances. Progress is keen to both cut taxes and boost spending,
particularly for infrastructure.
The oil ministry, which oversees Statoil and sets
policy for oil sector that accounts for a fifth of the economy
and half of exports, will be headed by the Progress Party's Tord
Lien, a relatively low profile former MP who stood down at the
However, the Conservative Party will hold onto the industry
and trade ministry, which oversees the majority of Norway's
state owned companies, like telecoms firm Telenor, top
bank DNB, aluminium maker Norsk Hydro and
fertilizer maker Yara.
Solberg's government will rule in a minority after failing
to win over several small centrist parties. But minority
governments are common in Nordic countries and the Conservatives
have enlisted the formal outside backing of the Liberals and the
Christian Democrats to ensure stability.
(Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; editing by Patrick Graham)