Prime Minister of Estonia.
Mart Laar heads a three-party coalition led by his own centre-right Fatherland Union (IL). He was the country's first post-Soviet Prime Minister from 1992 to 1994, when his pro-market policies were credited with making Estonia one of the most successful former Soviet states. He was appointed Prime Minister for his second term on 25 March 1999.
Born in the central town of Viljandi on 22 April 1960, he graduated from Tartu University with a degree in history in 1983 and went straight to work as a history teacher in Tallinn. He left teaching to combine history with politics in 1987 when he became the Chairman of the Historical Heritage Department of the Ministry of Culture. He manoeuvred into the political forefront as the Soviet Union disintegrated and joined the Estonian Christian Democratic Union in 1990. After democratic elections in 1992 he was appointed Prime Minister at the head of the Pro Patria Coalition (RKI). He was named as Young Politician of the World in 1993, as his youthful Cabinet thrust Estonia into the full rigours of the free market. His extreme radical approach proved less popular domestically, however, and he left office in 1994. In opposition he oversaw the merging of his RKI with the Estonian National Independence Party to form the IL in December 1995, and he has chaired the party since 1998. After success in legislative elections in March 1999 he was appointed Prime Minister for a second term. He faced calls for his resignation in February 2001 after reports that he had used a picture of Estonia Centre Party (EKe) leader Edgar Savisaar for shooting practice in 1999. By the end of the year dissension within the ruling coalition prompted Laar to announce his resignation in December, to take effect in January 2002.
Address: Office of the Prime Minister, Stenbock House, Rahukohtu 3, Tallinn 15161.