Kjell Magne Bondevik

Kjell Magne Bondevik
19th Prime Minister of Norway
In office
19 October 2001  17 October 2005
Monarch Harald V
Preceded by Jens Stoltenberg
Succeeded by Jens Stoltenberg
In office
17 October 1997  3 March 2000
Monarch Harald V
Preceded by Thorbjørn Jagland
Succeeded by Jens Stoltenberg
1st Deputy to the Prime Minister of Norway
In office
4 October 1985  9 May 1986
Prime Minister Kåre Willoch
Preceded by Post established
Succeeded by Vacant
(succeeded in 1997 by Anne Enger Lahnstein)
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
16 October 1989  3 November 1990
Prime Minister Jan P. Syse
Preceded by Thorvald Stoltenberg
Succeeded by Thorvald Stoltenberg
Minister of Church Affairs and Education
In office
8 June 1983  8 May 1986
Prime Minister Kåre Willoch
Preceded by Øystein Karr
Succeeded by Herr Khefer
Member of the Norwegian Parliament
In office
10 September 1973  12 September 2005
Constituency Oslo
Personal details
Born Kjell Magne Bondevik
(1947-09-03) 3 September 1947
Molde, Norway
Nationality Norwegian
Political party Christian Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Bjørg Bondevik
  • Bjørn
  • Hildegunn
  • John
Alma mater MF Norwegian School of Theology
Religion Church of Norway

Kjell Magne Bondevik ([çɛlː mɑŋnə bunːəviːk]; born 3 September 1947) is a Norwegian Lutheran minister and politician (Christian Democratic Party). He served as Prime Minister of Norway from 1997 to 2000, and from 2001 to 2005,[1] making him Norway's longest serving non-Labour Party Prime Minister since World War II.[2] Currently, he is President of the Oslo Centre for Peace and Human Rights.[3]

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

Family and early life

Bondevik was born in Molde to Johannes Bondevik, a pricipal at the Christian folk high school Rauma folkehøyskole who also was a local politician for the Christian Democratic Party,[4] and Margit, née Hæreid. He became a theological candidate from MF Norwegian School of Theology in 1975.[5] In 1979 he was ordained as pastor in the (Lutheran) Church of Norway.[6] He is married to Bjørg Bondevik (née Rasmussen) and has three children: Bjørn (born 1972), Hildegunn (born 1973) and John Harald (born 1976). Kjell Magne Bondevik is the nephew of politician Kjell Bondevik, the cousin of former bishop Odd Bondevik and brother in law of author and priest Eyvind Skeie.[7]

Political career

Bondevik in 2008 said that he regards himself as a "68'er", and that he was "influenced by the radical wind of the time". While he remained in the movement of Young Christian Democrats (Norway, KrFU), he claims to have "radicalized the organization to great despair in the party". He has also said that he would likely rather have "oriented" himself towards the Socialist People's Party, had his radicalization of the Christian Democratic Party not gone through.[8]

Representing the Christian Democratic Party, Bondevik was a member of the Storting (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 announced 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.[6][9]

Bondevik's first cabinet was defeated by a motion of no confidence in March 2000 as a result of a dispute over the construction of gas-fired power stations[10] and was replaced by a Labour Party government led by Jens Stoltenberg until their defeat in the 2001 parliamentary election. Bondevik then formed his second cabinet, consisting of the Christian Democratic Party, the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party, which took office on 19 October 2001.

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.

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 worldwide. The centre cooperates closely with the Carter Center in Atlanta, the Kim Dae Jung Library in Seoul and the Crisis Management Initiative in Helsinki.

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 that stirred some debate and criticism.[7][11] With the succeeding Stoltenberg Government, the practice was halted.[12]

He is a full member of the Club de Madrid, a group of former leaders of democratic states that works to strengthen democratic governance and leadership.[1]

Kjell Magne Bondevik is an Honorary Member of The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation.[13]

In 2009, Bondevik was awarded an honorary degree from the University of San Francisco.[14]


  1. 1 2 "Full Members: B". Club de Madrid. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  2. "Norske regjeringer siden 1945". Aftenposten. 16 October 2011. Retrieved 2016-10-02.
  3. Aftenposten English Web Desk/NTB (14 October 2008). "Bondevik attempts dialogue with Iran's president". Aftenposten. Archived from the original on 2008-10-16. Retrieved 2008-10-14.
  4. Bondevik mistet faren (Norwegian) Nettavisen, 19 February 2007, retrieved 20 July 2013
  5. Erling Rimehaug in Norsk biografisk leksikon: Kjell Magne Bondevik (Norwegian) Store norske leksikon, retrieved 20 July 2013
  6. 1 2 Jones, Ben; Bondevik, Kjell Magne (December 2011). "Fighting stigma with openness". Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 89 (12): 862–863. doi:10.2471/BLT.11.041211. PMC 3260893Freely accessible. PMID 22271941. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  7. 1 2 Viggo Valle and Per Kristian Johansen (2 June 2008): Stjerneklart med Kjell Magne Bondevik (Norwegian) NRK, retrieved 20 July 2013
  8. Anfindsen, 2010, p. 249.
  9. BBC Newsnight, 21 January 2008.
  10. Row over gas-fired power stations topples Government
  11. Orden på Bondevik (Norwegian) Dagbladet, retrieved 20 July 2013
  12. Den siste ære (Norwegian) VG, retrieved 20 July 2013
  13. Maren Næss Olsen (5 August 2011): Kobler terror til Hamsun-år (Norwegian) Morgenbladet, retrieved 20 July 2013
  14. Carpenter, Edward (28 September 2009). "USF Welcomes Norwegian Prime Minister". University of San Francisco. Retrieved 19 July 2013.


Party political offices
Preceded by
Sverre Pettersen
Chairman of the Youth of the Christian People's Party
Succeeded by
Ivar Molde
Preceded by
Kåre Kristiansen
Leader of the Christian Democratic Party
Succeeded by
Valgerd Svarstad Haugland
Political offices
Preceded by
Tore Austad
Norwegian Minister of Church and Education Affairs
Succeeded by
Kirsti Kolle Grøndahl
Preceded by
Thorvald Stoltenberg
Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Thorvald Stoltenberg
Preceded by
Thorbjørn Jagland
Prime Minister of Norway
Succeeded by
Jens Stoltenberg
Preceded by
Jens Stoltenberg
Prime Minister of Norway
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