Norway was left in political uncertainty today as the Right-wing Progress Party quit the governing coalition over the decision to repatriate an Islamic State wife and her two children.
The populist party had been propping up the country’s majority government but Siv Jensen, the party leader and finance minister, today gave the decision to leave the government.
The 29-year-old woman, who was born in Oslo to a Norwegian-Pakistani family, arrived in Norway on Saturday after being recovered from a Kurdish-controlled detention camp in Syria.
She had been living in Islamic State territory since 2013, where she married two Islamic State fighters and had two children.
The decision to repatriate the woman was based on humanitarian grounds that one of her children, a five-year-old son and three-year-old daughter, was seriously ill.
The woman, who has not been named, has since been arrested on suspicion of being a member of the Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State, while both her children have been hospitalised.
Ms Jensen told a press conference on Monday: "We don't compromise with people who have voluntarily joined terror organisations.
“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."
The populist party had agreed to support to the children but opposed giving government support to adults affiliated with Islamist groups.
Despite the Progress Party’s opposition, its three coalition partners decided last week to repatriate the woman and her children, which led to Ms Jensen’s announcement on Monday morning.
The departure has left behind a minority government, which will be led by Erna Solberg, the prime minister, who said on Monday that she will continue her role.
Seven cabinet posts have been left empty following Progress Party’s exit, including the role of Oil and Energy Minister, who oversees Western Europe’s biggest oil and gas industry.
Parliamentary elections in Norway are not planned until September 2021, meaning that a three-party coalition composed of the Conservative Party, Liberal Party and Christian Democratic Party will govern until then.