Brundtland to step down as Norway's prime minister
Seen as candidate for top U.N. post
October 23, 1996
Web posted at: 9:45 a.m. EDT (1345 GMT)
OSLO, Norway (CNN) -- Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem
Brundtland, who has dominated her country's politics for more
than 15 years, surprised Parliament Wednesday by announcing
her resignation, effective Friday.
Brundtland, 57, who said she would recommend Labor Party
protege Thorbjoern Jagland, 45, as her successor, did not
give a reason for stepping down. But she has been mentioned
as a possible candidate for the post of United Nations
The decision to resign was made a year ago, she said during a
question-and-answer session in
Parliament. Brundtland said she decided to leave office now
to make it clear to voters who will be Labor's prime minister
candidate in national elections to be held in November 1997.
It was the timing of the announcement -- not the resignation
itself -- that came as a surprise. Brundtland had already
said she wanted to step down, but the announcement wasn't
expected so soon.
Norway's first woman prime minister
In 1981 Brundtland became Norway's first woman prime minister
and its youngest. The first of her three terms began when
the Labor Party appointed her to replace Oddvar Nordli. It
lasted seven months until Labor was swept away in an election
wave of conservatism.
She returned to power from 1986-1989 after a Conservative-led
coalition resigned. Her first act was to appoint eight women
in her 18-member cabinet. Brundtland, a physician with a
public health degree from Harvard, formed the current
government in 1990.
Her name has been tossed around in New York as a possible
successor to U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali,
whose term ends at the end of the year. In Vienna earlier
this week, Brundtland again denied she is interested in that
Asked Wednesday if she would seek a job as head of an
international organization, Brundtland replied only: "I will
return to Parliament as a simple deputy."
Reuters contributed to this report.
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