Clark, Helen (New Zealand)

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Formerly a university lecturer and the country’s second successive female premier, Clark was elected leader of the centre-left Labour Party in Dec. 1993 and came to power as prime minister following the Nov. 1999 election. She won another two terms before Labour lost the general election of Nov. 2008 to the National Party.

Early Life

Born into a farming family in Hamilton on 26 Feb. 1950, Clark was educated at secondary level in Auckland before reading politics at the University of Auckland. Between 1973–75, while a junior lecturer at the university, she was also president of the Labour Party’s Youth Council, and served on the Auckland Labour Regional Council. In 1975 she unsuccessfully contested the safe National Party seat of Piako, and in 1976 represented Labour at an international socialist congress. Clark returned to the University of Auckland to lecture in political studies from 1977–81, during which time she was secretary of the Labour Women’s Council (1977). She...

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