Norway PM Solberg's government loses parliament majority over support to ISIS bride

Anti-immigration ally has withdrawn support from the ruling coalition after cabinet approved repatriation of a 'jihadi bride' along with her children

Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg's government has lost its parliamentary majority after the anti-immigration Populist Party withdrew support over a cabinet decision to repatriate an ISIS bride who had traveled to Syria in 2013.

The leader of the Progress Party and the country's Finance Minister, Siv Jensen, announced her party's decision on Monday.

Erna Solberg
Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway Wikimedia Commons

Case of the ISIS bride

The now-29-year-old unnamed Norwegian woman of Pakistani descent went to war-torn Syria in 2013. There, she married twice and had two children -- a five-year-old boy and a three-year-old girl. She, along with her children, was living in Syria's Kurdish-controlled Al-Hol camp.

The woman has denied that she has been an ISIS member but was arrested on her return to Norway, on Saturday. The cabinet decided to repatriate the woman and her two children in order to provide medical treatment to her ailing son.

Argument of the Progress Party

The party, though willing to extend support for the repatriation of the ailing child, wasn't ready to support the same for his mother. "We could welcome the children, but we do not compromise with people who have voluntarily joined terrorist organizations and who are working to tear down all the values Norway is built on," Jensen said in a statement on Monday.

"Many believe she used her child as a shield to come back to Norway. There are many in Norway who are displeased by this, not just in the Progress Party," she added. "I brought us into government, and I'm now bringing the party out." She said she nonetheless thought Solberg was the right person to be prime minister and she wanted to maintain a close dialogue with her in the future, the Guardian reported.

What's next for the government?

Prime Minister Solberg has termed her cabinet's decision to repatriate the woman along with her children as "correct". Though she has lost her majority in parliament, she would continue to lead the minority government along with her two remaining coalition partners, the centrist Liberal Party and the Christian Democrats, she said.

She now has the task of filling seven cabinet positions which fell vacant after the Progress Party quit the government. Norway has been ruled by a minority government since the 1970s.

Solberg has been prime minister of the Scandinavian country since 2013 when she formed a coalition with the Progress Party. The parties won renewed support in the 2017 elections. According to the nation's Constitution, the next elections are scheduled in September, next year.