Erna Solberg (Norwegian pronunciation: [ˌæːɳɑ ²suːlbærɡ]; born 24 February 1961) is a Norwegian politician serving as Prime Minister of Norway since October 2013 and Leader of the Conservative Party since May 2004.
Solberg was first elected to be a member of the Storting in 1989 and served as Minister of Local Government and Regional Development in Bondevik's Second Cabinet from 2001 to 2005. During her tenure, she oversaw the tightening of immigration policy and the preparation of a proposed reform of the administrative divisions of Norway. After the 2005 election, she chaired the Conservative Party parliamentary group until 2013. Solberg has emphasized the social and ideological basis of the Conservative policies, although the party also has become visibly more pragmatic.
After winning the September 2013 election, she became the 28th Prime Minister of Norway and the second female to hold the position after Gro Harlem Brundtland. Solberg's Cabinet, often referred to informally as the "Blue-Blue Cabinet", is a two-party minority government consisting of the Conservative Party and Progress Party. The cabinet has established a formalized co-operation with the Liberal Party and Christian Democratic Party in the Storting. The Government was re-elected in the 2017 election.
Solberg was born in Bergen in western Norway and grew up in the affluent Kalfaret neighbourhood. Her father, Asbjørn Solberg (1925–1989), worked as a consultant in the Bergen Sporvei, and her mother, Inger Wenche Torgersen (1926–2016), was an office worker. Solberg has two sisters, one older than her and one younger.
Solberg had some struggles at school and at the age 16 was diagnosed as suffering from dyslexia. She was, nevertheless, an active and talkative contributor in the classroom. In her final year as a high-school student in 1979, she was elected to the board of the School Student Union of Norway, and in the same year led the national charity event Operasjon Dagsverk, in which students collected money for Jamaica.
In 1986, she graduated with her cand.mag. degree (equivalent to master's degree) in sociology, political science, statistics and economics from the University of Bergen. In her final year, she also led the Students' League of the Conservative Party in Bergen.
Solberg was a deputy member of Bergen city council in the periods 1979–1983 and 1987–1989, the last period on the executive committee. She chaired local and municipal chapters of the Young Conservatives and the Conservative Party.
She was first elected to the Storting (Norwegian Parliament) from Hordaland in 1989 and has been re-elected five times. She was also the leader of the national Conservative Women's Association, from 1994 to 1998.
From 2001 to 2005 Solberg served as the Minister of Local Government and Regional Development under Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik. Her alleged tough policies in this department, including a firm stance on asylum policy, earned her the nickname "Jern-Erna" (Norwegian for "Iron Erna") in the media.
In 2003, Solberg proposed introducing Islamic Sharia Councils in Norway after being informed of the existence of such councils in the United Kingdom, and, in 2004, said that she wished to increase immigration to Norway.
As Minister, Solberg instructed the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration to expel Mulla Krekar, being a danger to national security. Later, terrorism charges were filed against Krekar for a death threat he uttered in 2010 against Erna Solberg.
She served as deputy leader of the Conservative Party from 2002 to 2004 and, in 2004, she became the party leader.
Solberg became the presumptive head of government after winning the general election on 9 September 2013 and was appointed Prime Minister on 16 October 2013. Solberg is Norway's second female Prime Minister after Gro Harlem Brundtland. The Government was re-elected in 2017, making Solberg the country's first right-wing leader to win re-election since the 1980s.
In 2014 she participated at the Agriculture and Food meeting which was held by Sylvi Listhaug where Minister of Transportation Ketil Solvik-Olsen and Minister of Climate and Environment Tine Sundtoft also were present. Later on, the four took a picture which appeared on the Government.no website on 14 March the same year. In April of the same year she criticized European Court over data retention which Telenor Group argued can be used without court proceedings.
In April 2008, it was revealed that Solberg, as Minister of Local Government and Regional Development in 2004, had rejected a request for asylum in Norway by the Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu. While the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration had been prepared to grant Vanunu asylum, it was then decided that the application could not be accepted because Vanunu's application had been made outside the borders of Norway. An unclassified document revealed that Solberg and the government considered that extraditing Vanunu from Israel could be seen as an action against Israel and thus unfitting to the Norwegian government's traditional position as a friend of Israel and as a political player in the Middle East. Solberg rejected this criticism and defended her decision.
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|Minister of Local Government and Regional Development
|Prime Minister of Norway
|Party political offices|
|Leader of the Conservative Party