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Norwegian government reshuffles
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10:21, June 21, 2008

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Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg reshuffled his three-party coalition government Friday, one day after Oil and Energy Minister Aaslaug Haga stepped down from her post, according to reports reaching here from Oslo.

The present Minister of Agriculture and Food Terje Riis-Johansen will replace Aslaug Haga as the new oil and energy minister and Lars Peder Brekk, also from Center Party as Riis-Johansen and Aaslaug Haga, will be the new minister of agriculture and food, Stoltenberg said at a press conference.

Aaslaug Haga, who stepped down from her position as oil minister June 19 on health grounds, also withdrew from her post as leader of the Center party. She had been the subject of a string of high-profile accusations of legal and tax irregularities in herprivate life.

The new appointment isn't expected to change oil-rich Norway's energy policy, the Norwegian newspapers said.

Stoltenberg also changed three ministers' posts. Labor Party politician Sylvia Brustad will be moved from the post of health minister to become minister of trade and industry. The present Minister of Trade and Industry, Dag Terje Andersen becomes minister of labor and social inclusion, replacing Bjarne Haakon Hanssen, who will in turn become new minister of health.

This would be the last major reorganization of his ministers for Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg. He hopes to have a stronger team in place in the run-up to next autumn's national elections to move forward from personnel crisis and concentrate on his government's accomplishments amidst rising discontent among voters,the Norwegian daily Aftenposten said in a commentary.

Recent public opinion polls have indicated plummeting support for Stoltenberg's Labor Party, and he needs to present some good results as the re-election campaign gets underway, the newspaper added.

Source: Xinhua

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