OSLO, (Reuters) – The deputy head of Norway’s main opposition Labour Party said yesterday he was resigning following accusations of sexual harassment. Trond Giske, 51, who held several cabinet posts in Labour governments, has apologised for what he said was unsuitable behaviour, but has rejected the most severe allegations as false and unfounded.
Few details of the allegation have been made public, but party leader Jonas Gahr Stoere said last month several women had accused his deputy of “unwanted encounters of a sexual nature”. Giske, who has been suspended from his post since Jan. 1, wrote on Facebook that he had decided to step down as deputy leader, and that he would also resign his post as Labour’s chief spokesman on economic policy if requested by the party.
“The main reason I’m doing this, is that it’s impossible for me and my family to withstand the pressure we’ve been under in recent weeks,” he said, while adding he looked forward to present his own version of the cases.
Gahr Stoere said in a statement he had advised Giske, one of two deputy leaders of the party, to resign. Giske, who had been seen as a contender to lead the party in the future, remains a member of Norway’s parliament.
The next parliamentary election is not due until 2021.
A number of figures from politics, corporate life and entertainment in several countries have quit or been fired in recent weeks as women have come forward with accusations of abuse and harassment.
The social movement aimed at raising awareness of sexual harassment and assault, epitomised by the #MeToo social media hashtag, was last month named Time magazine’s 2017 “Person of the Year”.