Erna Solberg

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Erna Solberg

Erna Solberg (Red carpet) - Global Citizen Festival Hamburg 04.jpg
Prime Minister of Norway
Assumed office
16 October 2013
MonarchHarald V
Preceded byJens Stoltenberg
Leader of the Conservative Party
Assumed office
9 May 2004
DeputyJan Tore Sanner
Erling Lae
Bent Høie
Preceded byJan Petersen
Conservative Parliamentary Leader
In office
9 October 2005 – 17 October 2013
Preceded byOddvard Nilsen
Succeeded byTrond Helleland
Leader of the Opposition
In office
17 October 2005 – 16 October 2013
MonarchHarald V
Prime MinisterJens Stoltenberg
Preceded byJens Stoltenberg
Succeeded byJens Stoltenberg
Minister of Local Government and Regional Development
In office
19 October 2001 – 17 October 2005
Prime MinisterKjell Magne Bondevik
Preceded bySylvia Brustad
Succeeded byÅslaug Haga
Leader of the Conservative Women's Association
In office
7 March 1993 – 29 March 1998
Preceded bySiri Frost Sterri
Succeeded bySonja Sjøli
Member of the Norwegian Parliament
Assumed office
2 October 1989
Personal details
Born (1961-02-24) 24 February 1961 (age 58)
Bergen, Norway
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Sindre Finnes
ResidenceInkognitogata 18
Alma materUniversity of Bergen

Erna Solberg (Norwegian: [ˌæːʁnɑ ²suːlbæʁɡ]; born 24 February 1961) is a Norwegian politician serving as Prime Minister of Norway since 2013 and Leader of the Conservative Party since May 2004.[1]

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.[2] 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.[3]

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.[4] 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 established a formalized co-operation with the Liberal Party and Christian Democratic Party in the Storting.[5] The Government was re-elected in the 2017 election, and was extended to include the Liberal Party in January 2018.[6] This extended minority coalition is informally referred to as the "Blue-Green cabinet." In May 2018, Solberg surpassed Kåre Willoch and became the longest serving Prime Minister of Norway to represent the Conservative party.[7]

Early life and education[edit]

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.[8]

Solberg had some struggles at school and at the age of 16 was diagnosed as suffering from dyslexia. She was, nevertheless, an active and talkative contributor in the classroom.[9] 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 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.

Since 1996 she has been married to Sindre Finnes, a businessman and former Conservative Party politician, with whom she has two children.[10][11] The family has lived in both Bergen and Oslo.

Political career[edit]

Erna Solberg during a party congress in 2009.

Local government[edit]

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.

Government Minister[edit]

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.[12]

Solberg, José Manuel Barroso and Mariano Rajoy at European People's Party Congress in Warsaw in 2009

In fact, numbers show that the Bondevik government, of 2001–2005, actually let in thousands more asylum seekers than the subsequent centre-left Red-Green government, of 2005–2009.[13]

In 2003, Solberg proposed introducing Islamic Sharia Councils in Norway after being informed of the existence of such councils in the United Kingdom,[14][15] and, in 2004, said that she wished to increase immigration to Norway.[16]

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.

Party Leader[edit]

She served as deputy leader of the Conservative Party from 2002 to 2004 and, in 2004, she became the party leader.

Prime Minister[edit]

Solberg and other Nordic leaders in Washington, D.C., 13 May 2016
Solberg and U.S. President Donald Trump in 2018

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.[17]

The Government was re-elected in 2017, making Solberg the country's first conservative leader to win re-election since the 1980s.[18] The centre-right parties were also able to maintain the majority in the Storting.

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 website on 14 March the same year.[19] In April of the same year she criticized European Court over data retention which Telenor Group argued can be used without court proceedings.[20]

In 2017, the Russian Embassy in Oslo had accused Norwegian officials and intelligence of using “false and disconnected anti-Russian rhetoric” and “scaring Norway’s population” about a "mythical Russian threat". In response, Prime Minister Solberg said: “This is an example of Russian propaganda that often comes when there’s a focus on security policy. There is nothing in this that’s new to us.”[21]

Solberg has tried to maintain and improve the China–Norway relations, which have been damaged since Norway decided to give the Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in 2010. In response to the death of Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, who died of organ failure while in government custody on 13 July 2017, Solberg said that "It is with deep grief that I received the news of Liu Xiaobo's passing. Liu Xiaobo was for decades a central voice for human rights and China's further development."[22]

Mordechai Vanunu case[edit]

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.[23] 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.[24] 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.[25]


National honours[edit]


  1. ^ "15 women leading the way for girls' education". Retrieved 2019-03-22.
  2. ^ Hellberg, Lars. "Erna Solberg" (in Norwegian). Norsk biografisk leksikon. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  3. ^ Alstadheim, Kjetil B. (December 22, 2012). "Solberg-og-dal-banen". Dagens Næringsliv (in Norwegian). Oslo. p. 2.
  4. ^ PM 1981, 1986–1989, 1990–1996.
  5. ^ "Avtale mellom Venstre, Kristelig Folkeparti, Fremskrittspartiet og Høyre" (PDF) (in Norwegian). Høyre. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 28, 2014. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  6. ^ Dagenborg, Joachim. "Norway's Liberals to join Conservative-led government". U.S. Retrieved 2018-04-26.
  7. ^ Løland, Leif Rune. "Passerer Willoch – Solberg blir Høyres lengstsittende statsminister". NRK (in Norwegian Bokmål). Retrieved 2018-06-01.
  8. ^ Johansen, Per Kristian (February 9, 2009). "Erna Solberg varsler tøffere integrering" (in Norwegian). Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on October 15, 2013. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  9. ^ Eivind Fondenes and Aslak Eriksrud. "Partifellene, syntes ikke Erna Solberg var blå nok" [Comrades did not Erna Solberg was blue enough] (in Norwegian). TV2. Archived from the original on June 30, 2009. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  10. ^ "After softening, 'Iron Erna' Solberg set to become Norway's PM". Daily News and Analysis. Reuters. September 10, 2013. Archived from the original on June 30, 2009.
  11. ^ "Erna Solberg". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-03-22.
  12. ^ Morken, Johannes (8 May 2009). "Erna Solberg varsler tøffere integrering" [Erna Solberg suggests tougher integration]. Vårt Land (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on June 30, 2009. Retrieved July 11, 2010.
  13. ^ Svela, Helge O. (September 13, 2009). "Det (var) altså flere asylsøkere som kom til Norge under den forrige Bondevik-regjeringen som Erna var med i, enn det har kommet nå under den rød-grønne regjeringen" [It (was) thus more asylum seekers coming to Norway during the previous Bondevik government that Erna was in, than it has now come under the red-green government]. Bergens Tidende (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on June 30, 2009. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
  14. ^ Sandli, Espen (November 6, 2003). "Solberg ber om shariaråd" [Solberg asking for Sharia Council]. Drammens Tidende (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on May 27, 2012. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
  15. ^ Ljones, Bjørg Irene (August 11, 2007). "Forby sharialover i Norge" [Prohibiting Sharia law in Norway]. Norge Idag (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on June 30, 2009. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
  16. ^ Almendingen, Berit (September 20, 2004). "Erna vil friste innvandrere til Norge" [Erna will entice immigrants to Norway]. TV 2 (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on March 26, 2005. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
  17. ^ "Dette er utfordringene som møter de nye statsrådene" [These are the challenges facing the new ministers]. Aftenposten. October 16, 2013. Archived from the original on June 30, 2009. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  18. ^ "Norway's centre-right coalition is re-elected". The Economist. 14 September 2017.
  19. ^ "Skogens rolle i klimasammenheng" [The forest's role in climate change]. March 14, 2014. Archived from the original on June 30, 2009. Retrieved April 12, 2014.
  20. ^ "Erna Solbergs datalagring kan bli torpedert" [Erna Solberg: Data storage can be torpedoed]. Bergens Tidende. Archived from the original on June 30, 2009. Retrieved April 12, 2014. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |newspaper= (help)
  21. ^
  22. ^ "West mourns Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, criticizes Beijing". Reuters. 13 July 2017.
  23. ^ Dennis Ravndal (September 4, 2008). "Erna Solberg hindret Vanunu i å få asyl" [Erna Solberg prevented Vanunu in getting asylum]. VG. Archived from the original on June 30, 2009. Retrieved April 10, 2008.
  24. ^ Stian Eisenträger (September 4, 2008). "Vanunu: - Håper Norge angrer asyl-avslaget" [Vanunu: - Hope Norway regrets asylum refusal]. VG. Archived from the original on June 30, 2009. Retrieved April 10, 2008.
  25. ^ Stian Eisenträger (September 4, 2008). "Vanunu-venner i harnisk" [Vanunu friends outraged]. VG. Archived from the original on June 30, 2009. Retrieved April 10, 2008.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Sylvia Brustad
Minister of Local Government and Regional Development
Succeeded by
Åslaug Haga
Preceded by
Jens Stoltenberg
Prime Minister of Norway
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jan Petersen
Leader of the Conservative Party