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|Minister of Defence|
27 October 1998 –18 July 2002
|Preceded by||Volker Rühe|
|Succeeded by||Peter Struck|
|Leader of the Social Democratic Party in the Bundestag|
10 November 1994 –26 October 1998
|Preceded by||Hans-Ulrich Klose|
|Succeeded by||Peter Struck|
|Leader of the Social Democratic Party|
25 June 1993 –18 November 1995
|Preceded by||Johannes Rau (acting)|
|Succeeded by||Oskar Lafontaine|
|Minister President of Rhineland-Palatinate|
21 May 1991 –15 October 1994
|Preceded by||Carl-Ludwig Wagner|
|Succeeded by||Kurt Beck|
|Member of the Bundestag|
10 November 1994 –18 October 2005
Rudolf Albert Scharping
2 December 1947
|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, 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.
The Social Democratic Party of Germany, or SPD, is a social-democratic political party in Germany.
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.He speaks English.
Niederelbert is an Ortsgemeinde – a community belonging to a Verbandsgemeinde – in the Westerwaldkreis in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.
The University of Bonn is a public research university located in Bonn, Germany. It was founded in its present form as the Rhein University 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.
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.
The Rhineland-Palatinate Landtag is the state diet of the German federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate.
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.During his time in office, he sought to nudge the party toward the center ground commanded by the Christian Democrats.
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 Fritz Kurt Schröder is a German politician, and 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 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.As part of his campaign, he included his long-term rivals Schröder and Oskar Lafontaine in his shadow cabinet. 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.
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.
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). The party is widely considered an effective successor of the Centre Party, although it has a broader base.
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 German federal election, 1998 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.He subsequently faced an investigation in parliament in over claims that he improperly used military planes to visit Pilati in Majorca and in Frankfurt.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As chairman of the SPD, Scharping spoke out against the Euro that would leave Germany with a currency weaker than the Deutsche Mark.
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).
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| Minister-President of Rhineland-Palatinate |
| Federal Minister of Defence (Germany) |
|Party political offices|
| Chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Germany |