Tam Jelgrun
Tam Jelgrun
9th Chief Minister of Bijan
In office
May 3, 1994 – March 17, 2009
Preceded by Renar Mavasi
Succeeded by Jakovo Ostaras
First Deputy Chief Minister of Bijan
In office
1993 – May 3, 1994
Prime Minister Renar Mavasi
Member of the
Bijani House of Representatives
In office
March 10, 1981 – March 12, 2013
Personal details
BornApril 11, 1953 (age 61)
Nurkan, Bijan
Political partyLiberal National Party
Spouse(s)Erina Tefu (m. 1978)
ReligionDutch Reformed

Okitam Haĝeno Jelgrun (born April 11, 1953), known publicly as Tam Jelgrun, was the 9th Chief Minister of Bijan, from May 3, 1994, until March 17, 2009. He is the longest-serving Bijani Chief Minister.

Jelgrun was a member of the Bijani House of Representatives from 1981 until 2013, representing Kijuri County. He served as a Minister in the 3rd Ornam Government from 1985 to 1988. In the late 1980s, Jelgrun was an early proponent of a merger between the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), of which he was a member, and the Bijani National Party (BNP). This put him at odds with Ornam's successor as Chief Minister, Ĉeso Dukan and Markom Hikoro, and he was not appointed to a ministerial position in either's government. Jelgrun was re-appointed to the Government in 1992, under Chief Minister Renar Mavasi, and was instrumental in merging the LDP and the BNP into the new Liberal National Party later that year.

The LNP won 90 out of 173 seats in the 1993 general election, an outright majority, and Mavasi was reappointed Chief Minister, with Jelgrun as First Deputy. In a leadership ballot held on May 2, 1994, however, Jelgrun was elected leader of the Liberal National Party, replacing Mavasi as leader, and as Chief Minister the following day. At the 1997 general election, Jelgrun's first as Chief Minister, the LNP were left 20 seats short of a majority, and entered into a coalition with One Nation. The LNP and One Nation were returned to government at general elections in 2001 and 2005. Jelgrun's coalition government was defeated at the 2009 general election by a three-party coalition led by Jakovo Ostaras of the Social Democratic Party. Jelgrun himself was re-elected in 2009, but retired from politics in 2013.

Early life

Tam Jelgrun is the fourth son of Rekis Jelgrun (1920–1997) and Linkasa Surevi (1923–2014). His parents were married in 1946. His eldest brother Hamin was born in 1948 (died 2003), followed by Senko (1949–1982) and Mato (b. 1951). Both his parents are of mixed Bijani–Dutch ancestry. He was named Okitam after his maternal grandfather, but from an early age used the name Tam.

Jelgrun was born and raised in the town of Nurkan, in Kijuri County, in a Reformed family. His mother had worked in a garment factory prior to her marriage. His father was a veteran of World War II, and worked in a petrol station in Nurkan upon his return, eventually becoming a manager and part-owner. Jelgrun suffered a hearing impairment in his youth, leaving him with a slight speech impediment. While the impairment could have been corrected with a simple hearing aid, it was not until he was elected to the House of Representatives that he would receive such treatment.

Jelgrun attended a local school in Nurkan until age 13, when he was sent to secondary school in the larger town of Vaku, about 40 kilometers from his hometown. An excellent student, Jelgrun was recommended by his teachers to attend the Christian Brothers Academy for Boys in Hadar, in which he enrolled in 1969. During his two years at the Academy, he represented his school in regional and national debate competitions, and played field hockey. A class trip to the Netherlands in 1970 opened his eyes to the wider world, and enkindled his interest in politics. After earning his secondary certification from Christian Brothers in 1971, he studied law at the Lieden University, graduating in 1975, and subsequently practicing as a solicitor upon his return to Bijan.

Jelgrun married Erina Tefu in 1978, with whom he had five children: Rona (b. 1980), Kalina (b. 1982), Paŭlo (b. 1986), Sarafina (b. 1987) and Kenik (1990–2007).

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