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  Wikipedia: Gerhard Schröder

Wikipedia: Gerhard Schröder
Gerhard Schröder
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Gerhard Fritz Kurt Schröder (born April 7, 1944) is a German politician and the current Bundeskanzler (Federal Chancellor and head of government) of Germany. When not in Berlin, the capital of Germany, he lives in Hanover.

The name is often spelled Gerhard Schroeder in the English language, when one doesn't use the umlauts.

Political carrier

Schröder joined the Social Democratic Party of Germany (Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands: SPD) in 1963.

In 1978 Schröder was elected as federal chairman of the Young Socialists, the youth organisation of the SPD. In 1980 he was elected into the German Bundestag, and stood out provactively as a young parliamentarian who wore a sweater to work instead of the traditional suit and tie. He became chairman of the SPD Hanover district. In 1986 he was elected into the parliament of Lower Saxony as leader of the SPD faction. At the same time, he was elected as member of the board of the federal SPD. He became Bundeskanzler on October 27, 1998 after having won elections in Lower Saxony for the third time in March that year and being Ministerpräsident there since 1990.

In the general elections on September 22, 2002, his term was extended by four years, thanks to the victory of his governing Red-Green coalition.

Since the resignation of Oskar Lafontaine from his office as SPD chairman in March, 1999, Schröder has held that office as well. In February, 2004, he resigned as chairman of the SPD to concentrate on the reform processes in Germany as chancellor. His successor as chairman is Franz Müntefering. There are speculations that the historical SPD's low popularity in opinion polls is one reason for his resignation as chairman.

Political agenda

Foreign politics

Along with French President Jacques Chirac, Schröder spoke out strongly against the war on Iraq during 2003, and denied any military assistance. His opposition has given rise to political discomforts between the USA and Germany, as Germany was considered one of America's most important and intimate allies since the end of World War II. Schröder's opposition to the war had multiple reasons, one of which was that the German constitution prohibited it from entering a war as an aggressor.

Domestic politics

Schröder's red-green alliance government is known for some progessive projects -- for example, for funding renewable energies, liberalising homosexual partnership, and trying to stop the Bundesländer to start studying fees. Mostly Schröder is known for the Agenda 2010 reform programme, which includes cuts in the social security (medical aid, unemployment security, pensions), lowering taxes, and reducing regulations on employment and payment. Since the 2003 election, Schröders SPD party steadily lost votes in opinion polls. What started as a third way programme in line with Tony Blair and Bill Clinton nowadays is seen by many as harsh knock-down of the German welfare state.

Political style

In the first years of his goverment, Schröder was known as Medienkanzler (chancellor of the media). He also was known for governing by commissions. After several changes in his cabinet, growing resistance in the now CDU dominated Bundesrat, and losing popularity, Schröders style changed to something based much on authoritative power of the chancellor.

Vita

Schröder is known for his career starting from a proletarian background to being a successful lawyer, as well as a politican.

Schröder was born in Mossenberg, in the county of Lippe-Detmold (today North Rhine-Westphalia). His father died in World War II weeks after young Gerhard's birth. His mother worked at farms to feed the family, consisting of her and her two sons. Later she married again (Paul Vosseler), but continued to work hard -- as a cleaning woman -- to feed the five kids of the family, now living in Bexten.

Schröder initially worked as a sales clerk in Göttingen, meanwhile learning at night school to get a Mittlere Reife (high school) diploma. Still trying to learn more and to get the possibility to attend university, in 1966 Schröder passed the Abitur test at Westfalen-Kolleg, Bielefeld. From 1966 to 1971 he studied law at Göttingen university. During the summer break, he worked to earn his living. From 1972 onwards, Schröder was an assistant at Göttingen university. In 1976, he passed his second law examination, working as lawyer (until 1990).

He has been married four times:

With the marriage with Doris Köpf, he became father of her daughter Clara.

Schröder is a Protestant, but he is not known to be very religious; for example he didn't add the optional So wahr mir Gott helfe formula (if God will help me) as he was sworn in as chancellor for the first time in 1998.

See also

External Links

Preceded by:
Helmut Kohl
Chancellors of Germany


There is another Gerhard Schröder, who was a member of the CDU party and minister of the Interior, Foreign Affairs, and Defense in the 1950s and 1960s. See Gerhard Schröder, CDU.


  

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