Rudolf Scharping

Last updated
Rudolf Scharping
Bundeswehr-Foto BVM012 Rudolf Scharping.jpg
Federal Minister of Defence
In office
27 October 1998 18 July 2002
Chancellor Gerhard Schröder
Preceded by Volker Rühe
Succeeded by Peter Struck
Leader of the Social Democratic Party in the Bundestag
In office
10 November 1994 26 October 1998
Chancellor Helmut Kohl
Preceded by Hans-Ulrich Klose
Succeeded by Peter Struck
Leader of the Social Democratic Party
In office
25 June 1993 18 November 1995
Preceded by Johannes Rau (acting)
Succeeded by Oskar Lafontaine
Minister President of Rhineland-Palatinate
In office
21 May 1991 15 October 1994
Preceded by Carl-Ludwig Wagner
Succeeded by Kurt Beck
Member of the Bundestag
In office
10 November 1994 18 October 2005
Personal details
Born
Rudolf Albert Scharping

(1947-12-02) 2 December 1947 (age 71)
Niederelbert, Germany
Political party Social Democratic Party (1966–present)
Alma mater University of Bonn

Rudolf Albert Scharping (born 2 December 1947) is a German lawyer and politician (SPD). He was from 1991 to 1994 the 6th Minister President of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate and 1998–2002 Federal Minister of Defence in the government of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. From 1993 to 1995 he was also the national chairman of the SPD. In the Bundestag election in 1994 he was candidate for chancellor. From March 1995 to May 2001 he served as chairman of the Party of European Socialists (PES).

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

A politician is a person active in party politics, or a person holding or seeking office in government. Politicians propose, support and create laws or policies that govern the land and, by extension, its people. Broadly speaking, a "politician" can be anyone who seeks to achieve political power in any bureaucratic institution.

Social Democratic Party of Germany Social-democratic political party in Germany

The Social Democratic Party of Germany, is a social-democratic political party in Germany.

Contents

Early life and education

Scharping was born in Niederelbert. He studied politics, sociology and law at the University of Bonn. His master's thesis was on Social Democratic campaign techniques in Rhineland-Palatinate. [1] He speaks English. [2]

Niederelbert Place in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Niederelbert is an Ortsgemeinde – a community belonging to a Verbandsgemeinde – in the Westerwaldkreis in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.

University of Bonn public research university located in Bonn, Germany

The University of Bonn is a public research university located in Bonn, Germany. It was founded in its present form as the Rhein-Universität on 18 October 1818 by Frederick William III, as the linear successor of the Kurkölnische Akademie Bonn which was founded in 1777. The University of Bonn offers a large number of undergraduate and graduate programs in a range of subjects and has 544 professors and 32,500 students. Its library holds more than five million volumes.

Political career

Career in state politics

Scharping joined the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) in 1966. He was of the Landtag of Rhineland-Palatinate from 1975 to 1994. From 21 May 1991 to 15 October 1994, he served as Minister-President of the state.

Landtag of Rhineland-Palatinate legislature of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

The Rhineland-Palatinate Landtag is the state diet of the German federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate.

Career in national politics

From 1993 to 1995, Scharping was chairman of the SPD, succeeding Björn Engholm. In an internal vote, he won against Gerhard Schröder und Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul. At the time, he was the youngest leader in the history of his party. [3] During his time in office, he sought to nudge the party toward the center ground commanded by the Christian Democrats. [4]

Björn Engholm German politician

Björn Engholm is a Lübeck born German SPD politician. He was Minister-President of Schleswig-Holstein from 1988 to 1993 and leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany between 1991 and 1993.

Gerhard Schröder German politician (SPD)

Gerhard Fritz Kurt Schröder is a German politician who served as Chancellor of Germany from 1998 to 2005, during which his most important political project was the Agenda 2010. As a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), he led a coalition government of the SPD and the Greens.

Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul German politician (SPD)

Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul is a German politician and a member of the Social Democratic Party since 1965.

In the 1994 elections, Scharping ran as the SPD's candidate for Chancellor against incumbent Helmut Kohl of the Christian Democrats (CDU). By March 1994, he held a 15-point lead over Kohl in the polls. [5] As part of his campaign, he included his long-term rivals Schröder and Oskar Lafontaine in his shadow cabinet. [6] He eventually lost and became leader of the opposition; his successor for the role as Minister-President was Kurt Beck. In his capacity as chairman of the SPD parliamentary group, he also served on the Committee on the Election of Judges (Wahlausschuss), which is in charge of appointing judges to the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany.

1994 German federal election

Federal elections were held in Germany on 16 October 1994 to elect the members of the 13th Bundestag. The CDU/CSU alliance led by Helmut Kohl remained the largest faction in parliament, with Kohl remaining Chancellor. This elected Bundestag was largest in history until 2017, numbering 672 members.

Helmut Kohl former chancellor of West Germany (1982-1990) and then the united Germany (1990-1998)

Helmut Josef Michael Kohl was a German statesman who served as Chancellor of Germany from 1982 to 1998 and as the chairman of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) from 1973 to 1998. From 1969 to 1976, Kohl was minister president of the state Rhineland-Palatinate. Kohl chaired the Group of Seven in 1985 and 1992. In 1998 he became honorary chairman of the CDU, resigning from the position in 2000.

Christian Democratic Union of Germany political party in Germany

The Christian Democratic Union of Germany is a Christian-democratic, liberal-conservative political party in Germany. It is the major catch-all party of the centre-right in German politics. The CDU forms the CDU/CSU grouping, also known as the Union, in the Bundestag with its Bavarian counterpart the Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU). Founded in 1945 as an interdenominational Christian party, the CDU effectively replaced the pre-war Catholic Centre Party, but also included politicians of other, liberal and conservative backgrounds. The party therefore claims to represent "Christian-social, liberal and conservative" elements.

Scharping was later defeated by Oskar Lafontaine as SPD chairman in an upset vote at the federal party convent at Mannheim. Instead, he was elected as one of five vice chairmen in the same year and re-elected in 1997, 1999 and 2001.

Oskar Lafontaine German politician

Oskar Lafontaine is a German politician who served in the government of Germany as Minister of Finance from 1998 to 1999. Previously he was Minister President of the state of Saarland from 1985 to 1998, and he was also Chairman of the Social Democratic Party from 1995 to 1999. After having won the 1998 German federal election along with new Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, he resigned from all political offices, including his seat in the German Bundestag, only a half year later and positioned himself as a popular opponent of Schröder's policies in the tabloid press.

Mannheim Place in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Mannheim is a city in the southwestern part of Germany, the third-largest in the German state of Baden-Württemberg after Stuttgart and Karlsruhe with a 2015 population of approximately 305,000 inhabitants. The city is at the centre of the larger densely populated Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region which has a population of 2,400,000 and is Germany's eighth-largest metropolitan region.

Minister of Defence, 1998–2002

From 27 October 1998 to 18 July 2002, Scharping served as Germany's Minister of Defence in the government of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. During his time in office, the German Bundeswehr participated for the first time since 1945 in a War outside Germany in former Yugoslavia. Scharping defended the German involvement with the Hufeisenplan, which later turned out to have likely been a hoax. Parts of the German population doubted the compatibility of the military methods, for example the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, with the Grundgesetz.

In 1999, Scharping established a government-appointed independent commission headed by former President Richard von Weizsäcker to develop recommendations on the reform of the Bundeswehr. [7]

By July 1999, Scharping was widely considered the leading candidate to become the new Secretary General of NATO; however, he declined to be nominated for the position. [8] [9] [10]

In what was later called Majorca Affair, Scharping had his picture taken in the swimming pool in company of his girlfriend Kristina Countess Pilati while the Bundeswehr was about to begin a difficult mission in Republic of Macedonia. [11] He subsequently faced an investigation in parliament in over claims that he improperly used military planes to visit Pilati in Majorca and in Frankfurt. [12]

Ahead of the 2002 elections, Schröder dismissed Scharping after weekly magazine Stern reported that he had accepted some $71,000 from a Frankfurt public relations company in 1998 and 1999, while he was minister. [13]

Following his dismissal as Minister of Defense, Scharping withdrew his candidacy for reelection as vice chairman as his chances were meagre. His successor was once again Kurt Beck. He kept his Bundestag seat but did not run again in the 2005 elections. For the remainder of his term, he served on the Committee on Foreign Affairs from 2002 until 2015.

Controversy

In 1968, the SPD expelled Scharping for a year for taking part in an antimilitary protest against a fund-raising concert for the German military band. [14]

During a visit to United States Secretary of Defense William Cohen in 2000, Scharping was injured and briefly hospitalized after a steel security barrier sprang up beneath his motorcade as it arrived for an honors ceremony at the Pentagon. [15]

In 2001, Scharping was criticized publicly by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld when he was found to be the source of a report that the United States would intervene in Somalia as part of the campaign against terrorism. [16]

Political positions

As chairman of the SPD, Scharping spoke out against the Euro that would leave Germany with a currency weaker than the Deutsche Mark. [17]

Life after politics

Since leaving politics, Scharping established his own company with a focus on business development in China. In 2005, he became the chairman of the Bund Deutscher Radfahrer. In addition, he took on a variety of paid and unpaid positions, including as member of the board of trustees at the Bonner Akademie für Forschung und Lehre praktischer Politik (BAPP). [18]

Related Research Articles

Edmund Stoiber German politician

Edmund Rüdiger Stoiber is a German politician, who was the 16th Minister President of the state of Bavaria between 1993 and 2007 and chairman of the Christian Social Union (CSU) between 1999 and 2007. In 2002 he candidated for the office of Chancellor of Germany in the federal election but in one of the narrowest elections in German history lost against Gerhard Schröder. On 18 January 2007, he announced his decision to step down from the posts of minister-president and party chairman by 30 September, after having been under fire in his own party for weeks.

Jürgen Trittin German Green politician

Jürgen Trittin is a German Green politician. He was Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety from 1998 to 2005 in Germany.

Peter Struck German politician

Peter Struck was the German Minister of Defence under chancellor Gerhard Schröder from 2002 to 2005. A lawyer, Struck was a member of the Social Democratic Party.

Franz Müntefering German politician (SPD)

Franz Müntefering is a German politician and industrial manager. He was Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) from 2004 to 2005 and again from 18 October 2008 to 13 November 2009. He served as Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, as well as Vice-Chancellor, from 2005 to 2007.

Kurt Biedenkopf German politician

Kurt Hans Biedenkopf is a German politician. He was the 1st Minister President of the Free State of Saxony from 1990 until 2002, as such serving as the 54th President of the Bundesrat in 1999/2000.

Günter Verheugen German politician

Günter Verheugen is a German politician who served as European Commissioner for Enlargement from 1999 to 2004, and then as European Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry from 2004 to 2010. He was also one of five vice presidents of the twenty seven member Barroso Commission. After his retirement, he is now honorary Professor at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder).

Volker Rühe German politician

Volker Rühe is a German politician of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). He served as German Defence minister from April 1, 1992, succeeding Gerhard Stoltenberg during the first government of a reunified Germany in the fourth cabinet of Chancellor Kohl, to the end of the fifth Kohl Cabinet on October 27, 1998. During his time at the Defence Ministry Rühe played a central role in placing NATO enlargement on the German political agenda. He unsuccessfully ran for the office of minister-president of the German state Schleswig-Holstein in the year 2000, eventually losing against incumbent Heide Simonis.

Sigmar Gabriel German politician (SPD)

Sigmar Hartmut Gabriel is a German politician who was Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2017 to 2018 and Vice-Chancellor of Germany from 2013 to 2018. He was Leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) from 2009 to 2017, which made him the party's longest-serving leader since Willy Brandt. He was the Federal Minister of the Environment from 2005 to 2009 and the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy from 2013 to 2017. From 1999 to 2003 Gabriel was Prime Minister of Lower Saxony.

Wolfgang Clement German politician

Wolfgang Clement is a German politician. Clement was a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). He was the 7th Minister President of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia from 27 May 1998 to 22 October 2002 and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Labour from 2002 to 2005.

1998 German federal election

Federal elections were held in Germany on 27 September 1998 to elect the members of the 14th Bundestag. The Social Democratic Party emerged as the largest faction in parliament, with its leader Gerhard Schröder becoming Chancellor.

Hans-Ulrich Klose German politician

Hans-Ulrich Klose is a German politician from the Social Democratic Party and a former member of the German Federal parliament. Klose was the First Mayor of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg from 1974 up to 1981, serving as President of the Bundesrat in 1979/80.

History of Germany since 1990 aspect of history

The history of Germany since 1990 spans the period following the Reunification of Germany, when West Germany and East Germany were reunited after being divided during the Cold War. Germany after 1990 is referred to by historians as the Berlin Republic. This time period is also determined by the ongoing process of the "inner reunification" of the formerly divided country.

Barbara Hendricks (politician) German SPD politician

Barbara Anne Hendricks is a German politician and member of the SPD party.

Walter Kolbow German politician

Walter Kolbow is a former German politician of the SPD.

Gernot Erler German politician

Gernot Erler is a German politician (SPD) who was member of the Bundestag, the German parliament, from 1987 to 2017.

References

  1. Craig R. Whitney (June 24, 1993), German Opposition Party Chooses a New Leader New York Times .
  2. Craig R. Whitney (April 10, 1994), Kohl's Challenger Is Coming on Visit to Try to Reassure U.S. New York Times .
  3. Craig R. Whitney (March 9, 1994), Now Breathing Down Kohl's Neck Is Big Socialist New York Times .
  4. Alan Cowell (November 17, 1995), Germany's Social Democrats Replace Leader With a Rival New York Times .
  5. Ferdinand Protzman (August 30, 1994), German Opposition Names Shadow Cabinet in Hopes of Votes New York Times .
  6. Ferdinand Protzman (August 30, 1994), German Opposition Names Shadow Cabinet in Hopes of Votes New York Times .
  7. Roger Cohen (May 24, 2000), Germans Plan To Trim Army And Rely Less On the Draft New York Times .
  8. Fitchett, Joseph (15 July 1999). "Paddy Ashdown of Britain Is Seen by Some As Leading Candidate for Secretary-General : Hunt for NATO Chief Moves Into New Phase". The New York Times . The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2014-04-18.
  9. Ulbrich, Jeffrey (16 July 1999). "Secretary-general sought by NATO". Associated Press . Retrieved 2014-04-18.
  10. Whitney, Craig R. (31 July 1999). "Britain Nominates Its Defense Secretary to Be Head of NATO". The New York Times . The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2014-04-18.
  11. 'Lustwaffe' Minister in firing line - Guardian
  12. Steven Erlanger (July 19, 2002), With an Eye On Election, Schröder Fires Defense Chief New York Times .
  13. Steven Erlanger (July 19, 2002), With an Eye On Election, Schröder Fires Defense Chief New York Times .
  14. Craig R. Whitney (March 9, 1994), Now Breathing Down Kohl's Neck Is Big Socialist New York Times .
  15. Steven Lee Myers (November 17, 1995), Pentagon Security Gate Misfires, Injuring German New York Times .
  16. Steven Erlanger (July 19, 2002), With an Eye On Election, Schröder Fires Defense Chief New York Times .
  17. Alan Cowell (November 17, 1995), Germany's Social Democrats Replace Leader With a Rival New York Times .
  18. Board of Trustees Bonner Akademie für Forschung und Lehre praktischer Politik (BAPP).


Political offices
Preceded by
Carl-Ludwig Wagner
Minister-President of Rhineland-Palatinate
1991–1994
Succeeded by
Kurt Beck
Preceded by
Volker Rühe
Federal Minister of Defence (Germany)
1998–2002
Succeeded by
Peter Struck
Party political offices
Preceded by
Björn Engholm
Chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Germany
1993–1995
Succeeded by
Oskar Lafontaine