Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Not all politicians looked destined to lead a country when they were younger.Granted, some of them had ambition and used their early jobs to enhance their political careers. But, among Europe’s senior political elite, there are some curious and interesting backgrounds.
We haven’t included everyone here. There are a lot of politicians who took a very traditional (to be read “boring”) route to power. If you don’t see your favourite, don’t dismay, assume they qualified as a lawyer, held a career in academia or were political animals from day one.
So, whose early career was the furthest away from politics?
Sarkozy was required to take part in military service while he was growing up and did so in 1978.
Apparently Sarkozy worked as a cleaner for the French Air Force in Paris. Later, at the age of 26, he went on to work as a lawyer for two decades, gradually getting more and more involved in politics.
Basescu was all at sea in the early years of his career.
The Romanian leader graduated from a naval academy before becoming a marine officer on board an oil tanker in 1976. He later became captain of that ship before moving in to politics.
The burly Bulgarian started off a long way from politics as a firefighter.
He later worked as a bodyguard and founded his own private security company before making the switch to politics after the fall of Communism in Europe.
Erdogan grew up in a poor town and moved to Istanbul as a young teenager with his family in search of a more prosperous life.
In order to raise money, Erdogan reportedly sold lemonade and simit (sesame buns) on the streets while he was still at school.
Stoltenberg began his professional life as a part-time journalist for the publication Arbeiderbladet.
He spent two years working for the paper before making the switch to politics and rising through the ranks of the Norwegian Labour Party.
Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir graduated from the Commercial College of Iceland in 1960 before beginning a career as a flight attendant in 1962.
She spent nine years working for Loftleiðir Icelandic Airlines, a predecessor of Icelandair.
Cavaco Silva was not the best student and failed out of school when he was 13-years-old.
His grandfather, as a punishment for the young president-to-be, made him work on his farmland. That taught him a lesson.
Before becoming a leading politician and leading legal expert, Josipovic was a composer.
Graduating from music school, he has recorded over 45 musical compositions to date as well as writing over 85 legal papers.
Berzins graduated from Riga Polytechnic Insitute in 1971 with a radio engineering degree.
With such qualification it is no surprise that he was a radio engineer before turning towards economics and politics.
Another leader with a musical background.
Lithuania's president took a job at the state Philharmonic as a staff inspector when she was 19-years-old. A year later she began her studies at Leningrad University, focusing on political economy.
Putin's first job after he graduated from university is well known.
He was recruited by the KGB and spent 17 years working as a mid-level agent, stationed for a long time in East Germany before the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.