Everyone has got to start somewhere, even the world leaders yet one might be surprised by the variety of first jobs held by these prolific politicians – from comedians to composers, bus drivers to bouncers. Theirs is a formidable rise and must be appreciated.
Khaltmaagiin Battulga, President of Mongolia was a wrestler. Moving from sports to politics is not the most obvious career change but that was the case for former martial arts star and Mongolian President Khaltmaagiin Battulga. In the 1980s he competed in Sambo, a type of martial art favoured by the Soviet Red Army.
Borut Pahor, Slovenian president was a male model. In order to pay his way through college, Slovenia’s president reportedly worked as a male model. Of course he does not get to escape this background lightly – reports claim the former communist official gets mocked by his political rivals with the nickname “Barbie Doll”.
Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany was a barmaid. While she was studying quantum physics at East Germany’s University of Leipzig, Angela Merkel was also pouring and serving drinks for customers as a barmaid. She reportedly made around 20-30 pfennig a week ($10-20), which just about paid for her dorm room.
Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, Turkmenistan’s president was dentist to his predecessor. President Berdymukhamedov was not only a trained dentist before he turned to politics, but he was also the personal dentist for his predecessor Saparmurat Niyazov.
Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine was a celebrated comedian. Life imitated art for another comedian-turned-president who after entering comedy at the age of 17, in 2015 starred in a TV series called Servant of the People in which he played the role of the President of Ukraine. Four years later he assumed office as the actual president after winning the seat in a landslide victory in
April 2019. But the Ukraine’s president is not entirely ill-suited to the role, as he is also a trained lawyer.
George Weah, President of Liberia was a soccer player. The former FIFA World Player of the Year enjoyed a stellar playing career at legendary soccer clubs including Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan and Manchester City. He now faces the biggest challenge of his life as president of his war-torn home country Liberia.
Jimmy Morales, former President of Guatemala was a comedian. Morales, who was president of Guatemala until January this year, was previously a comedian starring in a weekly sketch show called Moralejas (“Morals” in Spanish) with his brother, which ran for 14 years. In one rather prophetic episode, Jimmy’s character accidentally runs for president of Guatemala – and wins. TW