The former leader of the Conservatives (Høyre), former Minister and chairwoman of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, Karin Cecilie “Kaci” Kullmann Five, has died aged 65.
During a lengthy political career, Kullmann Five broke several glass-roofs – including becoming the first female leader of the Conservative Party in 1991.
With core values as the struggle for emancipation, abortion rights and the EU, Kullmann Five put her stamp on a new generation of Norwegian politicians.
Karen Cecilie, better known as Kaci, was born in Oslo, April 13, 1951.
Her numerous political positions started in the Bærum branch of the Young Conservatives in 1970, before being elected the first female leader of the organisation seven years later.
That same year Kullmann Five also got her breakthrough at national level in a television debate. The press described the behaviour of the young politicians as a “political blowout,” and was the biggest television success of 1970.
With the characteristic hair-clip always in place, Kullmann Five was a central figure in the Conservative Party during the years to come.
The Kaci effect
On formation of Syse’s cabinet in 1989, Kullmann Five was appointed Minister for Foreign Trade and Shipping.
She was fundamental in chiselling out the plans for the European Economic Agreement (EEA/EØS). She made no secret that her desire was a full EU membership for Norway.
During the Conservatives National Convention in 1991, she, at the age of 40, was elected their first ever female party leader.
On accepting the position, the polls showed an increased support for the Conservatives of 3 percentage points, dubbed by Dagbladet as the “Kaci effect”.
In the wake of the party’s election defeat in 1993, Kullmann Five took many by surprise when she announced her retirement as party leader.
She had consulted her husband, Carsten O. Five, and the couple’s two children, whether she should resign. The family gave her a unanimous yes. In an interview with Aftenposten, she said that that was a choice she never regretted.
In 2014 Kullmann Five was diagnosed with breast cancer. After chemotherapy, surgery and radiation her treatment was finalised in December of that year.
When the then deputy of the Norwegian Nobel Committee attended the Peace Prize award that year, it was with close-cropped hair and therefore no hair clip.
– It was not so many who asked me if I was sick, but most noticed that I had a new hairstyle, said Kullmann Five.
The following year she took over as Chairwoman of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, and was ranked by the economics journal Forbes at number 86 on the list of the world’s most influential women. In 2016 she was moved up to 75th place.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today