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Even in places with a Napoleonic code, lawyers abound.
In Germany, a third of the Bundestag's members are lawyers.
WHEN Barack Obama met Hu Jintao, his Chinese counterpart, at the G20 summit in London, it was an encounter not just between two presidents, but also between two professions and mindsets.
A lawyer, trained to argue from first principles and haggle over words, was speaking to an engineer, who knew how to build physical structures and keep them intact.
The Soviet Union, which also produced plenty of engineer-politicians (including Boris Yeltsin), wanted to reverse the northward flow of some great Russian rivers, for example.
The presence of so many engineer-politicians in China goes hand in hand with a certain way of thinking.
And why are some professions so well represented in politics? Africa is full of presidents who won power as leaders of military coups (such as Sudan's Omar al-Bashir) or as guerrilla chiefs (Ethiopia's Meles Zenawi and Rwanda's Paul Kagame). The army's influence can outlast its direct control.This is not a relic of the past: 2007 saw the appointments of one petroleum and two chemical engineers.The last American president to train as an engineer was Herbert Hoover.Seven of the last 11 prime ministers and two of the last four presidents have been .The second most common “profession” is that of businessman.