Norway : Sandberg-gate

Yesterday (8/13/2018), Per Sandberg resigned as Norwegian Minister of Fisheries and as First Deputy Leader of the Progress Party. Sandberg’s resignation comes only a few months after another Progress Party politician, Sylvi Listhaug resigned from Erna Solberg’s government. Listhaug was Minister of Justice, Public Security and Immigration until 3/20/2018. Interestingly enough, she became functioning First Deputy Leader of the Progress Party when Per Sandberg resigned from that position. The Progress Party are supposedly right-wing populists.

Sandberg’s resignation was due to his relationship with Bahareh Letnes, an Iranian citizen living in Norway. Letnes, 28 years old, was given asylum in Norway as a refugee. However, Letnes has been working on building a relationship between Norway and Iran, and she has also traveled back and forth between those two countries. Doesn’t sound like something a refugee would do, right? Letnes owns a business that imports natural gas from Iran to Norway, and she was Miss Iran in 2013. Per Sandberg is 58 years old, and he has been an outspoken Progress Party politician with a blue-collar background. Well, I could say that Sandberg might talk like a right-wing populist, but he seems to have played the role of being the Progress Party’s vox populi within the party, while still staying on good terms with the party leadership. Sort of the mediator between more populist-minded grass roots within the party, and the career politicians.

So, Sandberg is in a relationship with a woman half his age who used to be a beauty queen. Without informing his boss, Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Sandberg and Letnes traveled to Iran, and in Iran, they celebrated Iran’s national day – which happens to be the day when the Iranian regime celebrates the Islamic revolution. I have yet to see Prime Minister Solberg making a public comment about this – perhaps I missed it since I have been traveling. However, Iranian-born Progress Party politician Mazyar Keshvari was openly critical of Sandberg, and he (Sandberg) resigned from both his position as a minister and as First Deputy Leader of his party, so my best guess is that he was forced to resign.

The Local also writes about this.

Per Sandberg

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