Populist party enters government in Norway

Populist party enters government in Norway

OSLO - A populist party in favour of tighter immigration controls and sweeping tax cuts on Wednesday entered the government in Norway for the first time, joining conservatives in a right-wing coalition.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg, 52, leader of the Conservative Party, unveiled her new cabinet with seven ministerial posts going to the populist Progress Party and 11 to her own movement.

"I consider it to be a good competent government," said Solberg, whose party won 27 per cent of the vote in September elections.

The incoming government will be in a minority, relying on support from two small centre-right parties - the Liberal Party and the Christian Democratic Party - to pass legislation.

The Progress Party, which won 16 per cent of the vote, has been in opposition ever since its formation 40 years ago.

Siv Jensen, the 44-year-old leader, took the government's number two position as finance minister and the party also now controls several heavyweight ministries including justice, energy and transport.

The party's policies in several areas, including immigration, tax and climate change, were previously considered too radical for other Norwegian political parties.

Several years ago Jensen criticised the "creeping Islamisation" of society, but since the massacre of 77 people in 2011 by right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik - a former party member who claimed he was fighting against multiculturalism - the party has toned down its anti-immigration statements.

The party condemned the Breivik massacre at the time and has since complained that some international media have made too much of his previous membership.

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