The Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg, has been fined 20,000 krona (£1,713), for violating her own government’s COVID-19 social distancing rules, the police said Friday.
The Prime Minister had in February organised a family gathering to celebrate her 60th birthday with 13 family members at a mountain resort despite a ban on gathering of more than 10 people.
The two-term prime minister later apologised last month.
Although her action would not normally have attracted a fine, police chief Ole Saeverud told a local news conference that as the prime minister she should be held to a high standard.
“Though the law is the same for all, all are not equal in front of the law,” Mr Saeverud said.
“It is therefore correct to issue a fine in order to uphold the general public’s trust in the rules on social restrictions,” he added.
“Solberg is the country’s leader and she has been at the forefront of the restrictions imposed to limit the spread of the virus,” the police boss noted.
It is yet to be seen if the fine would have an impact on Ms Solberg’s Conservative Party’s reelection bid come September, but it is believed that it may dent her popularity.
The Scandinavian country has maintained some of Europe’s lowest COVID-19 infection and death rates, partly due to its strict movement restriction when the virus broke out.
Solberg is not the first high-ranking official to fall foul of pandemic regulations. Other prominent public figures include the European Union’s trade chief, Phil Hogan, who resigned in August after attending a dinner at which over 80 people were present.
Some commentators on Twitter have praised the sanction on the prime minister, with different nationals comparing the fine with what is obtained in their country.
If @AbiyAhmedAli was Norway’s Prime Minister, Imagine how much he would have been fined for breaking sovereignty. He invited Eritrea, Somalia & #AUE to attack his own citizens. https://t.co/hl3fSN9Mud
— Kahsay Nirea (@kahsay9) April 9, 2021