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 [IPA: çɛl: mɑŋnə bun:əvi:k] (born 3 September 1947) is a Norwegianmarker Lutheran minister and politician. He served as Prime Minister of Norway from 1997 to 2000, and from 2001 to 2005, making him Norway's longest serving non-Socialist Prime Minister since World War II. He is also the first Prime Minister who took sick leave due to mental illness. Currently, he is President of the Oslo Centre for Peace and Human Rights.


On 31 October 2006 he published his memoir, called Et liv i spenning (A life of excitement/tension).

Family and early life

Bondevik was born in Moldemarker, Norway. He became a theological candidate from MF Norwegian School of Theologymarker in 1975. In 1979 he was ordained as pastor in the (Lutheran) Norwegian State Church. He is married to Bjørg Bondevik (born Rasmussen), and has the three children Bjørn (born 1972), Hildegunn (born 1973) and John Harald (born 1976). Kjell Magne Bondevik is also the cousin of the Norwegian bishop Odd Bondevik.

Political career

Representing the Christian Democratic Party, Bondevik was a member of the Stortingmarker (Parliament) from 1973 to 2005. He was his party's parliamentary leader in the periods of 1981–1983, 1986–1989, 1993–1997, 1997 and 2000–2001, and party leader from 1983 to 1995. In this position, he was succeeded by Valgerd Svarstad Haugland. Bondevik was also Minister of Foreign Affairs in Jan P. Syse's government of 1989–1990, Minister of Church and Education in Kåre Willoch's government 1983–1986, also Prime Minister Willoch's deputy 1985–1986, and state secretary at the Office of the Prime Minister during Lars Korvald's government 1972–1973.

As Prime Minister

Bondevik's first term as Prime Minister lasted from 17 October 1997 to 3 March 2000, in a coalition cabinet consisting of the Christian Democratic Party, the Centre Party and the Liberal Party.

While serving his first term as Prime Minister, Bondevik attracted international attention in August 1998 when he admitted that he was suffering from depressive episode, becoming the highest ranking world leader to admit to suffering from a mental illness while in office. Upon this revelation, Anne Enger Lahnstein became acting Prime Minister for three weeks, from 30 August to 23 September, while he recovered from the depressive episode. Bondevik then returned to office. Bondevik received thousands of supportive letters, and said that the experience had been positive overall, both for himself and because it made mental illness more publicly acceptable.

His cabinet during his second period in office, a coalition cabinet consisting of the Christian Democratic Party, the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party, was appointed 19 October 2001, succeeding Jens Stoltenberg.

The second Bondevik government carried out reforms and left a booming economy. However, Bondevik was defeated in the 2005 parliamentary election, with 81 seats obtained for Bondevik's coalition and its supporters to the opposition Red-Green Coalition's 88.

Bondevik announced his retirement from national-level politics at the end of his term as prime minister and did not seek re-election for his seat in parliament.

Awards and decorations

Bondevik was awarded the Grand Cross of St. Olav in 2004, the first sitting Norwegian Prime Minister to receive the Order of St. Olav in 80 years. The award happened due to a change in the Statutes of the Order with automatic awards to the Prime Minister and Ministers of the Government. With the succeeding Stoltenberg Government, this controversial practice was halted.

Member of the Club of Madrid.

Kjell Magne Bondevik is an Honorary Member of The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation.

In 2009, Bondevik was awarded an honorary degree from the University of San Franciscomarker[26140].

The Oslo Centre

The Oslo Centre for Peace and Human Rights was founded by Kjell Magne Bondevik in January 2006. The purpose of the centre is to work for world peace, human rights and inter-religious tolerance world wide. The centre cooperates closely with the Carter Center in Atlantamarker, the Kim Dae Jung Library in Seoulmarker and the Crisis Management Initiative in Helsinkimarker.

References

  1. BBC Newsnight, 21 January 2008.
  2. The Club of Madrid is an independent organization dedicated to strengthening democracy around the world by drawing on the unique experience and resources of its Members – 66 democratic former heads of state and government.


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