Oslo: Norway’s transport minister on Friday said he was stepping down to allow his wife to further her medical career, in a move welcomed as a win for gender equality.
“It’s been fantastic to be a minister and, in fact, I could have continued all my life,” said Ketil Solvik-Olsen, a member of the right-wing Progress party who served in the post since 2013.
“But I’ve come to a crossroads in my life where it’s my wife’s turn to pursue her dream. It’s a deal we’ve had in place for a number of years,” he told TV2 Nyhetskanalen television, adding that he intends to return to frontline politics at some stage.
His wife, Tone Solvik-Olsen, has accepted a posting in a children’s hospital in the United States for a year, he added.
Social media users in Norway reacted positively to Solvik-Olsen’s decision, calling the move “respectable” and “a great example” on Twitter.
At the forefront of global gender fairness efforts, Norway is ranked second behind only Iceland by the World Economic Forum on equality between men and women.
According to national media reports, the energy minister, Terje Soviknes, is also set to give up his portfolio to concentrate on local politics.
The prime minister’s office said there would be a cabinet shuffle on Friday without providing details.
Norway’s Progress party has been in power since 2013 as part of a coalition with the Conservatives, with the centre-right Liberal party joining last year. All three parties are headed by women.