Minister faces lack of confidence vote

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Norway’s Oil and Energy Minister, Terje Riis-Johansen, faces a lack of confidence vote in the Norwegian Parliament (Stortinget) over allegations that he failed to inform the Parliament quickly enough about delays in the government’s carbon recapture project at the Mongstad power plant.

The opposition in Parliament isn't happy with Oil Minister Terje Riis-Johansen. PHOTO: Regjeringen.no/Torbjørn Tandberg

The small Christian Democrats party announced Monday it intended to put forth a mistillitsforslag (a proposal to formally express a lack of confidence) against Riis-Johansen after an extraordinary meeting of its parliamentary group Monday morning.

“A unanimous group concluded that Terje Riis-Johansen has neglected to give the correct information to the Storting,” Dagfinn Høybråten, leader of the Christian Democrats, told TV2. “When a government minister hasn’t provided relevant information to the Storting, it’s a serious violation.”

Other opposition parties also have complained that the government led by Jens Stoltenberg of the Labour Party delayed an announcement that the much-touted project aimed at cutting emissions would itself be delayed. Stoltenberg has famously referred to the project as Norway’s equivalent of a “moon-landing,” and it played a major role in last year’s re-election campaign.

Høybråten told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that Riis-Johansen “has been sitting on important information” about disagreement among the project’s technical experts and on uncertainty surrounding the project, and not least that the project’s progress wouldn’t meet deadlines set for it.

“He has been sitting on the information for months, without telling Stortinget about it,” charged Høybråten.

Now the Parliament’s other parties must evaluate whether they’ll support the Christian Democrats’ proposal. Riis-Johansen, Stoltenberg and Environmental Minister Erik Solheim have all been called into Parliament in recent weeks to answer hostile questions from the opposition over delays at Mongstad.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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