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If you mention Carl Bildt to a Swede he will respond in one of two ways. Either the Swede will tell you that Carl Bildt is the best thing that's happened to Swedish politics since Gustav Vasa and that Bildt is the one true leader of the Moderate Party1, or he will tell you that Mr. Bildt is one hundred percent pure evil and should be destroyed where he was forged, in the fires of Mount Doom.

Carl Bildt was born on the 15th of July 1949 in Halmstad to Nils and Kerstin Bildt. His first political appointment was as the chairman of the Moderate Student Association (Fria moderata studentförbundet) between 1973 and '74. Between '73 and '76 he worked as a political secretary with the Moderate Party.

Bildt was elected into the Riksdag in 1979. As his speciality is foreign and security policy, he has been a deputy member of the Foreign Affairs committee during most of his time in the Riksdag.2 In 1981 he was elected into the Moderate Party's board, and in 1986, he was elected chairman of the party. After the 1991 election, when the Moderate party formed a government together with the three other right-wing parties in the Riksdag, Bildt also became the prime minister (statsminister) of Sweden.

Bildt was only prime minister for three years as the four parties in government lost power to the Social Democratic Party and its supporting parties in the 1994 election. During those three years, Bildt's government did however manage to achieve a few things. The most important things include the sales of a number of government-owned companies, negotiating for Swedish membership of the EU and starting the construction of Øresundsbron.

Bildt has, apart from his work in Sweden, had several important foreign missions. In June 1995 he was appointed as the EU's negotiator in the war in former Yugoslavia. After the Dayton Agreement, he was appointed High Representative for the rebuilding of Bosnia by the "international community." He returned to Sweden in 1998 to try to get elected as prime minister again. Failing to do so, he resigned as chairman of the Moderate Party in August 1999. (Bo Lundgren was elected as his successor.)

Between May 1999 and July 2001, Bildt served as the UN Secretary General's special envoy to the Balkans.

After criticism of Bildt's frequent trips abroad and bad attendance in the Riksdag due to this, Bildt choose to leave the Riksdag. He left his seat to Anna Kinberg, who was seen as slightly controversial as she, during her 1998 campaign, had claimed that Stockholmers were smarter than other Swedes (!).

Bildt has received many international honours and decorations, most of them related to his work in the Balkans, such as the German Großes Bundesverdienstkreuz. He has also been made commander of the French Legion d'Honneur and the British Order of St Michael and St George.

These days, Bildt serves as a member of the board in a number of companies and works as an advisor to many influential organisations world-wide. He is the first non-US citizen to have been elected into RAND's board of trustees.

Though Bildt hasn't been very active in Swedish politics for several years, he is still one of Sweden's most admired persons. According to a 2002 poll, he is the 9th most popular role-model in Sweden. Two political persons are more popular than him, Olof Palme (2nd) and Göran Persson (5th). Strangely enough Bildt is more popular than Raoul Wallenberg (10th).

Bildt has been married three times and has two children from his second marriage. He is currently married to Italian national Anna Maria Corazza Bildt.

Bildt isn't the first in his family the be prime minister of Sweden. His great, great grandfather, Gillis Bildt was prime minster between 1888 and '89. He too was conservative.

Bildt has written several books:

  • The Country that Stepped out into the Cold (1972)
  • A Future in Freedom (1976)
  • A Citizen of Halland, Sweden and Europe (1991)
  • The Only Way (1994)
  • Peace Journey (1997)

[1] The Moderate Party is the Swedish conservative party.
[2] '79-'82, '86-'91, '94-'98 and '98-'99.

Nationalencyklopedin - http://www.ne.se
Bildt's curriculum vitae on his personal homepage (bildt.net) - http://www.bildt.net/index.asp?artid=283
Rixlex, the Riksdag's database - telnet://rixlex.riksdagen.se or http://rixlex.riksdagen.se
Swedish prime ministers throughout the ages - Carl Bildt - http://members01.chello.se/dier/sm32.htm

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