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After the recent elections in Czech Republic it became apparent that Andrej Babiš is going to become the next Prime Minister of the country. The curious thing about him is that he holds dual Czech-Slovak citizenship and could therefore (theoretically) participate in Slovak elections. This got me thinking about the following question.

Have there been any examples in history where a politician was able to become elected (through popular vote) in two different countries during his career? Obviously excluding scenarios where the two countries unified (East German politician getting elected in Federal Germany) or separated (Czechoslovak politician becoming elected in Czech Republic).

  • How attached are you to "dual citizen"? There are definitely examples of non-citizens being elected to public office, so the question seems unnecessarily narrow. – Peter Taylor Oct 23 '17 at 17:40
  • @PeterTaylor there are countries where non citizens can run for office? – JonathanReez Supports Monica Oct 23 '17 at 17:50
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    The entire EU as an absolute minimum. – Peter Taylor Oct 23 '17 at 18:29
  • @PeterTaylor if at least one person has managed to use those rights to get elected in a different country, feel free to post an answer – JonathanReez Supports Monica Oct 23 '17 at 18:33
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    Elected (including things like town councils? At least MP/MEP?) or become a cabinet member (which aren't always elected incidentally). Daniel Cohn-Bendit was elected MEP in two different countries and had some other political activities in both countries. He is also an example of someone elected in a “different” country, as he never took French citizenship as far as I know. – Relaxed Oct 23 '17 at 20:05
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Your question's title says 'elected to government' but the body says just 'elected'. This makes things tricky for two reasons - because people may be members of parliament (or in local government) or similar but not actually in government, and because in some countries (like the UK) people are only elected as members of parliament. The government in the UK is appointed by the prime minister (and the prime minister is appointed by the queen, but is almost certainly the leader of the largest party).

There are at least some near misses.

Mikheil Saakashvili was president of Georgia and later the governor of a region of Ukraine - but he was appointed as governor, not elected.

Gerry Adams is currently a member of the Irish parliament, but was previously leader of Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland, a British MP (who didn't take up his seat) and a Northern Ireland assembly member. He has, of course, also been frequently alleged to have been a commander of the IRA terrorist group, but denies this. However, despite having been the leader of a party with ministers in government in Northern Ireland and the leader of his party in one house of parliament in Ireland, he wasn't technically in government. You could also argue that this is a case of a country separating - but this, of course, did not happen during his lifetime.

Commonwealth and Irish citizens can stand for the UK parliament (and vote in UK elections if they're resident) so it'd be no surprise to find other examples.

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Daniel Cohn-Bendit was elected as a member of the European Parliament (MEP) in both Germany and France. He was also elected to the town council of Frankfurt at some point. While he was elected in France as a German citizen, he has even been discussed as a potential presidential candidate and ultimately became a naturalized citizen in 2015.

  • Daniel Cohn-Bendit actually has French nationality since 2015. – Evargalo Apr 5 at 7:37
  • @Evargalo Did you downvote this answer due to this guarded incidental statement? – Relaxed Apr 6 at 20:58
  • no, the downvote is not mine. – Evargalo Apr 7 at 9:07
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Simón Bolívar was a president of Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela, Guayaquil and Gran Colombia (the last does not count because it was an example of a unification). He was elected by a parliament/congress, though.

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Robert Kocharyan was president of Nagorno-Karabakh, then prime minister and president of Armenia. Nagorno-Karabakh is an unrecognized state though.

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Félix Houphouët-Boigny has been a French MP since 1945 and a minister between 1956 and 1961 (various offices, with interruptions) before becoming the President of the nawly founded Republic of Ivory Coast on 27 November 1960. He would hold that presidency for the next 30 years.

Similarly, Léopold Sédar Senghor was a French MP after WWII (1945-1958) and entered different governments : Secretary of State (read 'second-rank minister', this doesn't have the same meaning as in the US) in 1955-56 and then minister-advisor from 1959 to 1961. He would become Republic of Sénégal's first President after independance, elected the 5th of September, 1960, for twenty years.

  • IMHO decolonization could fall under the "two countries separated" and as such does not answer the question (and I guess there were many such examples) – Radovan Garabík Apr 5 at 11:45
  • @RadovanGarabík point taken, but can't that also apply to most countries Bolivar ruled (as per your answer) ? – Evargalo Apr 5 at 11:58
  • Not quite, since he was not a member of Spanish parliament (or something), and Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela and Guayaquil have just become independent countries. Both Houphouët-Boigny and Sédar were French politicians who continued their career once their home countries became independent there (you find a lot of such people in ex-USSR and ex-SFRJ countries, even though the case of colonies was a bit different). – Radovan Garabík Apr 5 at 12:06
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The question excludes scenarios where the two countries unified or separated, but there are also cases of a border change, and these are probably most common cases of politicians being elected in different countries. E.g. the (in)famous example of Konrad Henlein, who was elected to Czechoslovak Parliament in 1935 (his party won the elections), and in 1938 was "elected" to German Reichstag.

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