Marco Biagi, out gay SNP MSP for Edinburgh Central, said he would not seek to be re-elected to Holyrood next May as he wants to pursue an academic career.
Biagi, 32, who was appointed by Nicola Sturgeon last year as Minister for Local Government and Community Empowerment, made his announcement at the Edinburgh Central SNP branch.
He is one of the three openly gay ministers in the Scottish government.
Biagi was one of the leading campaigners for marriage equality in Scotland and as a Minister he is taking the Community Empowerment Bill through parliament and co-chaired the Commission on Local Tax Reform.
He is understood to be the youngest person to have won election to the Scottish Parliament in a constituency seat.
Biagi also became in 2012 the Deputy Convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Equal Opportunities Committee.
He stated that he was committed to serving his constituents and the Scottish Government to “the last day, hour and minute of my term”.
“Nothing has given me greater honour than being elected by the people of this constituency to represent them, and also latterly being chosen by the First Minister to serve in her first government.
“Being in Holyrood has given me a chance to push the case of worthy causes, my constituency, and principles I’ve held all my life.
“It will be my honour to serve the people of Edinburgh Central and the Scottish Government up to the last day, hour and minute of my term.
“Success in politics is about team work and as an MSP and a minister I have worked with some truly exceptional colleagues. I will move on confident in the knowledge that Edinburgh Central SNP will be spoiled for choice in finding a new candidate.”
“Having spent the first ten years of my working life in politics I am keen to return to my earlier ambitions for an academic career.”
The minister studied international relations at St Andrews and embarked on a doctorate at Oxford, planning to become a lecturer, but then returned to Scotland to pursue a political career.
Biagi also has a masters in political communication from Glasgow University.
He stressed that there were no political motives or any disagreement behind his decision to quit, and said it simply is a matter of him wanting to return to academia.
“I’ve never been happier with how the party is going,” he said. “It’s an amazing time. I could not be more proud of what the Government is doing.”
Biagi said he nevertheless will still be involved in political campaigning and did not rule out a return to elected office in the future.