Odd Roger Enoksen (SP) resigned as Minister of Defense after it became known that he had a sexual relationship with a young woman in the 2000s.
In an email to NTB, Enoksen stated that he informed the Prime Minister that he would resign.
“I want to apologize to those I have hurt. I have made several bad choices and assessments… my actions have made life more difficult for others,” Enoksen said.
“I have today informed my party leader Trygve Slagsvold Vedum and Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre that I want to resign as Minister of Defense,” Enoksen said.
Støre accepts resignation
Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre (AP) stated that he accepts Enoksen’s wish to resign and that he agrees with the decision.
“I was made aware of the case due to which Enoksen is resigning last night. I do not want to comment on the contents (of the case). Still, I think what emerges in the case is of a nature that is not compatible with the trust one needs to have as a minister. (That is) something I have conveyed directly to Enoksen. Therefore, it is right that he apologizes and resigns,” Støre said.
Enoksen says that it has been an honor to serve as Minister of Defense for Norway in a demanding time.
Apologizes for the inconvenience
Enoksen told the newspaper VG on Saturday that he was sorry and that he should not have had the relationship with the young woman, who first greeted him during a social gathering in Northern Norway in 2005. She later met him on a school trip to the Storting. The relationship started after the trip.
However, Enoksen said that a minister also has a private life and can have relationships outside of marriage. Enoksen is 67 years old now and was 50 years old in 2005.
“It was not a situation where I had a position of power over her,” Enoksen told VG.
Felt shame and guilt
On the other hand, the woman says that the relationship has affected her life for 15 years and that she has felt shame, guilt, and fear that she would not be believed.
She told the newspaper VG that she felt ashamed for many years, and that it wasn’t right that she had to live with it.
He used his power and his position to get what he wanted. He should not have done that, and I wish he had taken responsibility,” the woman told VG.
“Yes, I was older than her. Yes, I was a parliamentary representative first and then a minister. But I never had any power relationship over her that made her unable to go and leave at any time if she felt uncomfortable. I never had any means of pressuring her and never tried to exert any pressure,” Enoksen said.
Earlier this spring, it became known that the Center Party was handling another case related to Enoksen. In connection with that case, Center Party leader Trygve Slagsvold Vedum said this week that he still has confidence in Enoksen.
“I would take him into the government and have him in the government because I have high confidence in him,” Vedum said when asked if he would have given Enoksen the ministerial post if he knew about the case.
The other case concerns two incidents from 2000 and 2001, respectively, when Enoksen was the leader of the Center Party.
Enoksen was the leader of the Center Party from 1999 to 2003. He has been a parliamentary representative from 1993 to 2005. In addition, Enoksen was Minister of Local Government from 1999 to 2000, Minister of Petroleum and Energy from 2005 to 2007, and most recently Minister of Defense since last autumn.
Enoksen is the second minister to resign after the Støre government took office last autumn. Hadia Tajik resigned as Minister of Labor earlier this year.
Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews
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